High metal costs may shrink Aussie coins

High metal costs may shrink Aussie coins

The size and composition of some Australian coins may have to change due to the soaring cost of copper and nickel.

This year the metal value of the 5c, 10c and 20c coins will overtake their face value for the first time, News Ltd reported.

The metal content in 10c, 20c and 50c coins was now worth more than the metal in the $1 and $2 coins.

But melting down coins to make extra by selling the metal was illegal and heavy penalties applied.

The 5c coin has a current metal cost of 4.89c, the 10c coin 9.78c and the 20c coin 19.56c compared with the $1 coin on 8.3c and the $2 coin on just 6.1c.

But with copper and nickel prices up about 30 per cent this year, some new coins will cost more to make than their face value, News Ltd says.

Driven by Chinese demand, copper prices have more than doubled over the past two years.

A Royal Australian Mint spokesman said if any changes were to be made to coins, the Australian public would be widely consulted to gauge potential impacts.

Australia’s 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c coins are 75 per cent copper and 25 per cent nickel while the $1 and $2 coins are made from 92 per cent copper, six per cent aluminium and two per cent nickel.

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