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English >> Features >> Beijing 2008 Olympic Games >> Text/Pictures
Exotic medals make debut appearance

The 6,000 medals for the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics were delivered to the Games' organizers yesterday.

Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice-president of organizing committee BOCOG, said: "The handing over of the medals is a milestone for the Olympics and Paralympics.

"When deciding on the numbers of medals we would need, we considered the situations of sharing medals, team winners and those to be presented to the Olympic Museum after the Games. That is how we arrived at the figure of 6,000."

For the first time in Olympic history, this year's medals are inlaid with jade. The combination of metal and jade symbolizes respect and virtue in Chinese culture.

China Banknote Printing and Minting Corp's Shanghai Mint manufactured the medals from raw materials provided by BHP Billiton, the Games' official diversified minerals and medals sponsor, while the Qinghai municipal government provided the jade.

The International Olympic Committee has strict guidelines for the design, weight and size of the medals, and what materials can be used.

The gold and silver medals must be made of pure silver, with the gold ones plated with no less than 6 g of gold. Bronze medals have to be made from copper.

The required 13.04 kg of gold were extracted from copper concentrate from BHP Billiton's Escondida mine in Chile, while its Cannington mine in Queensland, Australia, supplied lead concentrate for the required 1,340 kg of silver.

The 6,930 kg of copper concentrate for the bronze and commemorative medals for all Games participants, including athletes and officials, came from the Spence mine in Chile.

The raw materials were refined in China at the Smelter of Tongling Non-Ferrous Metals Group in Anhui province and the Henan Yu Guang Gold and Lead Group in Henan.

"Having the opportunity to supply the metals for the medals meant all our employees at our Escondida, Spence and Cannington operations could feel part of the Olympic Games," Clinton Dines, president of BHP Billiton China, said.

Source: China Daily

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