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Shanghai Mint gets Olympic gold, silver, copper
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The metals that will be used to produce the medals for the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics were delivered to the organizers Tuesday, marking an important milestone in the countdown to the Games.

Zhao Dongming (L), director of BOCOG's cultural activities department, and Clinton Dines, BHP Billiton China president, talk in front of an Olympic medal display Tuesday in Shanghai.

About 13 kg of gold, 1.34 tons of silver and 6.93 tons of copper cathode, were sourced from Australia and Chile through BHP Billiton, the diversified minerals and medals sponsor for both Games.

Over the next five months, the Shanghai Mint, under the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corp, will create 1,000 medals for each of the three medal categories, as well as tens of thousands of commemorative medals for the two events.

The raw materials for the medals, sourced and shipped from BHP Billiton's Cannington mine in Queensland, Australia, and its Escondida and Spence operations in Chile, have been refined in China at the smelter of Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group and Henan Yuguang Gold and Lead Group.

Kunlun jade, a precious stone that will also be used in the medals, was delivered earlier to the Shanghai Mint.

Zhao Dongming, director of the cultural activity department of Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, said: "The handover ceremony is a milestone in our partnership with BHP Billiton that began nearly two years ago when we prepared to launch the inaugural medal design contest".

For the first time in Olympic history, the medals for the Beijing Games will blend metal and gemstone. On the reverse side of each medal will be a jade ring with a metal centerpiece engraved with the emblem of the event.

Tong Weina, the mint's managing director, told China Daily Tuesday: "In line with Olympic standards, a gold medal contains at least 6g of gold with the remainder being pure silver. We promise our practice strictly abides by these requirements and all the medals will be delivered on time."

Clinton Dines, BHP Billiton China President, said the company's charter values "converge completely" with Olympic ideals.

"The Beijing Olympics and Paralympics offer us an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to China's development and its importance to us as a market," Dines said.

(China Daily January 16, 2008)

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