Argor-Heraeus is one of the largest precious metals refineries in the world.
Founded in 1951 in Chiasso under the name Argor, its name is a contraction of the words silver (argent) and gold (or). In 1973, the company was 100% owned by the Union de banques suisses (which later became UBS).
In 1988, it relocated to Mendrision and in 1999, it was re-acquired by Heraeus (Hanau, Germany) to become owned on a four-way basis by Heraeus Holdings GmbH, Commerzbank International SA, the Austrian Mint, and its Board of Directors.
In April 2017, Heraeus bought out the other three owners, acquiring 100 percent of shares in the refinery. The price paid was not made public but reports valued it at “a few hundred million euros.”
Argor-Heraeus does not own a mine, so it sub-contracts extraction of the commodity. It concentrates on bar production. The Argor-Heraeus smelting plant processes more than 400 metric tons of gold each year.
The refinery, besides gold, refines other precious metals such as silver, palladium and platinum.
With purity at 999.99%, their gold and silver bars exceed the international standard of 995.
Argor-Heraeus offers a vast array of bars: 13 sizes, from 1 gram to 1 kilogram, in each metal.
The company also produces commemorative gold coins and medallions by client request. Argor also executes special orders, such as gold telephones and other objects made of precious metals.
Argor-Heraeus exercises strict controls on the incoming commodity and original certification of the precious metal. In 2006, the company was suspected of having violated the U.N.’s embargo on gold from the Republic of Congo, but those suspicions were deemed to be unfounded.
Argor-Heraeus is on the list of good suppliers established by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA); thus it meets high quality standards. Their gold bars may be negotiated without restriction.
The company regularly obtains new accreditations: in December 2014, it achieved ISO 14001 and OHSAS 1800 certifications.
Argor-Heraeus’s environment commitment includes sustainable development programs and reducing Co2 emissions.