$231 million in gold, silver lies beneath tower rubble

NEW YORK - Some 13 tons of gold worth an estimated $110 million and 30.2 million ounces of silver valued at $121 million are buried under the rubble at the World Trade Center, The New York Times reported yesterday.

The precious metal was stored in vaults below 4 World Trade Center, one of the smaller buildings that collapsed in the attack on the twin towers, the newspaper said. It belongs to people or firms that trade futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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."

One company estimated the trade center hoard of gold to be just 0.3 percent of the global supply.

The precious metals are used to settle trading in futures contracts.

Futures traders generally do not want the actual gold; instead they buy contracts based on it to hedge or speculate.