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Gold market: Prices down, costs trimmed and projects postponed

Gold market: Prices down, costs trimmed and projects postponed

The sharp fall in the price of gold, from an average of US$1,600/oz to US$1,325/oz, has brought attention to the gold industry. This industry is facing increasing production costs and the main question is whether projects currently under development should be maintained and what will happen with the exploration of new deposits. At present, the cost ratio is still profitable, but if the gold price continues to fall, this will not be the case for long. What will happen to the value of gold in the future? What will happen to demand? What are the challenges facing the industry? To what extent will projects endure, and how will companies maintain the same standards of production and reserves?

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Record drop in gold values
The gold market is going through one of its worst periods in the last 30 years. In April, gold was quoted at US$1,325/oz on the London Metal Exchange, 31% below the peak of US$1,921/oz in September 2011.

What is happening with mining projects?
With low gold prices, a decline in ore grades, and a stronger dollar, companies have been forced to take restrictive and austerity measures to compete and improve their productivity, resulting in postponement or suspension of many projects.

Slow growth in production
Gold production in the first quarter, at 1,051.6 tonnes, showed a slight year-onyear increase of 4%. Growth in recent years has been slow but steady, with 2012 production ending up 2% higher than the average of the last five years.

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