Gold, silver buried beneath WTC ruins

Some 11.8 metric tons of gold worth an estimated $110 million and 30.2 million ounces of silver valued at $121 million are buried in the rubble below one of the collapsed buildings in the World Trade Center, The New York Times reported.

The precious metal was stored in vaults below 4 World Trade Center, the paper said. It belongs to people or firms that trade futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

A metric ton is equal to about 2,205 pounds.

The Times quoted James Newsome, acting chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which oversees futures markets, as saying there was not much concern about the gold and silver “because the metal is secure and because there is ample supply.”

Even if for some reason the gold can’t be recovered, there’s plenty of supply in the world. One company estimated the trade center hoard to be 0.3 percent of the global supply, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The precious metals are used to settle trading in futures contracts, the AP reported. Futures traders generally don’t want the actual gold; instead they’re buying contracts based on it to hedge or speculate.