Editorial: Gold majors jostle for attention in Denver

AngloGold CEO and executive director Kelvin Dushnisky presenting at the Denver Gold Forum in September 2018. Credit: Denver Gold Forum video screenshot.AngloGold Ashanti CEO and executive director Kelvin Dushnisky presenting at the Denver Gold Forum in September 2018. Credit: Denver Gold Forum video screenshot.

The pecking order within the global gold mining industry is never more on display each year than at the Denver Gold Forum in September, with miners and developers of all sizes converging to capture the attention of big investors.

After a tough several years that saw the near wholesale changeover amongst execs of the top gold miners, the presidents and CEOs that presented were a familiar bunch.

In its presentation this year, Newmont Mining, the world’s largest gold mining company — at least for now — highlighted that it is already five years into its sweeping, companywide plan to create long-term value.

Newmont president and CEO Gary Goldberg noted that in 2017, its Tanami expansion came online in Australia; the Ahafo mine expansion in Ghana was funded; its five-year outlook improved; and its dividend grew.

He said Newmont has three priorities: “To deliver superior operational execution by running our mines safely and efficiently; to sustain a global portfolio of long-life assets by advancing profitable expansion and exploration on four continents; and to maintain a superior value proposition for our stakeholders through leading profitability and responsibility.”

Newmont is guiding production for 2018 of between 4.9 and 5.4 million oz. gold. At the end of 2017, Newmont had 68.5 million oz. in attributable gold reserves, unchanged from 2016.

Barrick Gold was absent from the forum schedule, having just unveiled its proposed blockbuster deal to merge with Randgold Resources on an all-share, no-premium basis. Barrick executive chairman John Thornton will keep this role in the new company, while Randgold CEO Mark Bristow will become president and CEO of “New Barrick Group.”

At the end of 2017, Barrick had 64.4 million oz. gold in reserves. The company is guiding 2018 production of 4.5 to 5 million oz. gold.

Post-merger, New Barrick Group could produce upwards of 6 million oz. gold in 2019 from Barrick and Randgold current mines, thus regaining the crown as the world’s largest gold miner.

AngloGold Ashanti’s presentation was delivered by new CEO and executive director Kelvin Dushnisky, who recently departed Barrick as president.

Looking relaxed and cheerful, Dushnisky said he wanted to give some of his initial impressions of AngloGold.

“In many respects I’m in listen-and-learn mode, and getting as many perspectives from within and outside the company as I can. And it’s been, well, the expression is ‘drinking water from a fire hose’ — or maybe it’s more like being under a water bomber. But it’s what I expected and so far, so good.”

He said he has found reassurance in a “strong alignment” between management and the board, and one of his priorities will be to ensure the Obuasi mine in Ghana is redeveloped on time and on budget.

AngloGold is guiding 2018 production at 3.4 million oz. gold. It closed 2017 with 49.5 million oz. gold in reserves.

Goldcorp president and CEO David Garofalo reiterated his company’s view that the optimum size for a major gold producer is to produce 3 million to 4 million oz. gold annually from six to eight camps — which describes Goldcorp’s current structure, but with all assets in the Americas.

He said Goldcorp’s “20/20/20 Plan” is unchanged, and still seeks to achieve 20% growth in production, 20% reduction in all-in sustaining costs and 20% growth in reserves between 2017 and 2021.

Garofalo commented that, in respect to the Barrick–Randgold deal’s effect on the gold industry, “nothing changes, but I will say that it points to very positive things about the fundamentals of the sector. Clearly, if you’re constructing an US$18-billion deal, something of that magnitude, putting together assets of that scale, it’s a bullish signal on gold.”

For 2018, Goldcorp is guiding production of 2.5 million oz. gold. It ended 2017 with 53.5 million oz. gold in reserves.

Kinross Gold also anticipates producing 2.5 million oz. this year, but as gold equivalent — not pure gold. For 2018, Agnico Eagle Mines anticipates producing 1.58 million oz. gold, Nordgold foresees up to 1 million oz. gold and Iamgold is guiding up to 900,000 oz. gold.


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