Standing Committee Meeting in Geneva

Geneva (24 March 2011): The 68th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC) took place in Geneva (Switzerland) on 21 March 2011 under the chairmanship of Mr. Ronald W.A. Le Bas (Irish Assay Office). The meeting was attended by 57 officials representing 25 countries of which all 19 Contracting States, 2 Applicant States (Italy and Ukraine) and 4 other States (Croatia, Iceland, India, and Macedonia).

Italy officially submitted a membership application and invited an Inspection Team, set up by the SC, to visit Italy in the coming months. The Team, led by the SC's Chairman, comprises experts from the Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland and the Secretariat. Both Croatia and India indicated that they were actively working on a membership application with the backing of their respective governments.

The SC adopted a revision of the Compilation of Technical Decisions, which will enter into force on 3 June 2011, i.e. at the same as the amended Convention's Annexes. From this date on, Assay Offices, authorised under the Convention, will be able to mark multimetal articles with the CCM.  Moreover, they will have the possibility not to apply the fineness mark for small and fragile articles (the CCM already contains a fineness indication).   

The SC agreed on a further amendment of the Compilation of Acts in order to include Explanatory Notes to the Convention and Guidelines on the Assessment Requirements for authorised, independent Assay Offices. The SC also agreed in principle on a revision of the election procedure of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman. A formal proposal will be discussed at the next meeting.  The SC also mandated the Standing Technical Group to review the Glossary contained in the Compilation of Acts.

The SC reviewed statistics on the number of articles marked with the CCM as well as the operation of the Convention in general (e.g. consultations between Assay Offices, fake CCM, etc.).  It discussed a Dutch proposal to introduce compulsory accreditation to ISO 17025 for authorised Assay Offices.  Although 18 out of 23 Assay Offices are already accredited, Members preferred to consider other tools in order to monitor non-accredited Assay Offices.  These tools will be discussed at the next SC meeting.

The SC noted the various investigations and corrective actions taken by Assay Offices following last year's Round Robin (inter-laboratory proficiency testing scheme) on platinum, gold and silver.  It also discussed two practical cases on "Assaying and Marking Practices".  The Chairman of the Standing Technical Group (STG), Mr. Ashley Carson (Sheffield Assay Office), gave an outstanding presentation on the recently conducted Round Robin on Marking Technique, which attracted much attention. The SC re-elected all Members of the Standing Technical Group for another term of two years.

At the invitation of Poland, Members agreed to reconvene in Warsaw on 19 September 2011.  The spring 2012 meeting will be held in Geneva on 26 March 2012.

The SC meeting was followed by a meeting of The International Association of Assay Offices (www.theiaao.com).

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