Ill-Disciplined Gold Miners Deal Industry Loss: Chart of the Day

Industry Discipline

Gold producers opening new mines are hurting efforts to revive industry returns following the biggest price slump last year in more than three decades, according to Randgold Resources Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows how world output breached an annual 3,000 metric tons for the first time last year. That’s while demand dropped 11 percent to 4,080 tons and gold prices tumbled 28 percent, the biggest slide since 1981. In the first half of 2014, demand also shrank 7.2 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to World Gold Council data.

“The downside is driven by the industry continuing to supply gold at a loss,” Bristow said in an interview. “We’re not disciplined as an industry, we’re not in good shape as a gold mining industry.” Randgold’s stock is the best performing among major companies with producing mines in the past decade.

Investors that cut gold holdings as prices fell from highs have yet to plunge back in. The metal held in exchange-traded products totaled 1,728 tons by Aug. 13, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s after it slumped by a third to 1,763 tons last year and touched a record 2,632 tons in 2012.

Gold prices have also struggled to make headway after a first-quarter rebound. The metal’s up 10 percent in 2014 after rising as much as 16 percent to the year’s high on March 17. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold & Silver Index has recovered less than a quarter of the value it lost last year, when the gauge of 30 global gold and silver producers sank 49 percent.

Goldcorp Inc., the largest gold producer by market value, started mining at its Cerro Negro mine in Argentina last month, while its Eleonore project in Quebec is scheduled to begin producing this year. Newmont Mining Corp., the largest U.S. gold producer, said last month that it will build a mine in Suriname for as much as $1 billion that will start production in 2016.

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