Kinross Chief Says Gold’s Decline May Spur Consolidation

Gold’s decline may drive an increase in consolidation among companies that mine and explore for the metal, according to the chief executive officer of Kinross Gold Corp., Canada’s third-largest producer.

“You may see some consolidation within the industry around balance-sheet strength and margin and free cash flow and quality assets that need funding,” Paul Rollinson said yesterday in a telephone interview from Russia, where he was visiting the company’s new Dvoinoye mine. “You may see a gold price-driven wave of M&A activity.”

Gold is poised for its first annual decline in 13 years after slipping into a bear market in April. Producers have responded by cutting spending plans, reducing dividends and trying to sell less profitable assets.

Kinross doesn’t need to sell assets or make acquisitions, Rollinson said. The Toronto-based company, which suspended dividend payments in July, is focused on maintaining balance-sheet strength, operating its mines well and being disciplined in spending, he said.

Kinross achieved commercial production at Dvoinoye in eastern Russia this month, the company said yesterday in a statement. Kinross expects the mine will produce 235,000 to 300,000 ounces of gold equivalent, a metric that includes silver output, in its first three full years of production.

“It’s nice to be opening up a mine in this tough environment,” Rollinson said in the interview. “It’s on time and on budget even though it’s a pretty challenging, remote location.”

Barrick Gold Corp. and Goldcorp Inc. are Canada’s largest gold producers ranked by sales.

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