Fortune in bullion buried in rubble
By LEN ZEHR, ALLAN ROBINSON and ANDREW WILLIS
Thursday, September 13, 2001
Buried under tons of rubble in the basement of New York's World Trade Center is a king's ransom in gold and silver.
The bullion is stored in underground vaults owned by Comex, a division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, where five big metals players, including ScotiaMocatta, the metals trading arm of Bank of Nova Scotia, clear their trades.
"We can't get at it," said a source familiar with the recovery effort, adding the bank is worried about the situation and is reluctant to discuss the matter.
But digging up the treasure is expected to take weeks as the search continues for victims of the terrorist attacks.
Scotiabank spokeswoman Pam Agnew said eight employees of ScotiaMocatta were able to get out of Building No. 4 at the devastated office complex in lower Manhattan. The bank also has 250 employees in a nearby tower.
Last Monday, Comex reported that it held 792,170 ounces of gold in inventory with a value of about $220-million (U.S.).
It also held more than 102 million ounces of silver, worth $430-million. Sources said the silver reserves probably are kept at several other locations in the area to control storage costs.
Among other major metals dealers to clear their trades through Comex are Chase Manhattan Bank NA, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. Ltd. and Bank of New York, sources said.