DEFINITION of Ingot

An ingot is a material cast into a shape to facilitate transportation and processing. An ingot is typically rectangular, which allows it to be stacked. Ingots are most commonly associated with metals; in fact, ingots of gold held in the vaults of banks and brokerages are popular images.

BREAKING DOWN Ingot

An ingot is formed by injecting or pouring molten liquid into a mold, where it will cool and take the shape of the mold. The process of creating ingots is thousands of years old, as molding metals into regular shapes made it easier to transport and store. Steel ingots range in size from small rectangular blocks that weigh only a few pounds to huge, tapered, octagonal masses that tip the scales at more than 500 tons. Tin ingots are the starting material for numerous products, whether the tin will be alloyed with other metals, converted to other forms, applied to the surfaces of other metals, or converted to chemical compounds.

The word ingot comes from the mold in which the bars are cast. This process differentiates them from other, usually smaller, bars, which are produced by minting or stamping sheets of gold bullion.

Ingots are bound to a set of Good Delivery Rules that are laid out by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). As with all other types of bullion bar, gold ingots are required by the LBMA to contain 99.5% pure gold, i.e., 995.0 parts per thousand of fine gold. The LBMA was founded in 1987 by the Bank of England, the market’s regulator at the time. It is the trade association for the over the counter gold and silver market in London. The association is responsible for the regulation of refining standards, trading practices, and the certification of the bullion used to make gold and silver bars and coins.