Gold Miners Better at Controlling Costs
By Joe Foster, Portfolio Manager and Strategist
Gold mining companies are doing a better job of controlling costs in this cycle than we have ever seen. The chart below of all-in sustaining costs shows how costs have risen and fallen with the gold price historically. Notice how costs have remained around $1,000 as the gold price rose to over $2,000 in 2020. Scotia estimates a small decline in costs through 2023.
Gold Industry Costs 1970 – 2023e
Source: Scotia, VanEck.
While a major contributor to containing costs has been the adoption of new technologies, they have also been contained because companies are more focused on operational efficiency and less obsessed with growth.
Building mines is fraught with risks, so companies no longer attempt to build multiple mines at once. In this cycle we are seeing companies sequence developments in order to achieve a manageable pace and avoid costly mistakes. More capital is also being used to fund lower risk brownfield projects that typically carry higher returns than new developments.
MVIS Global Junior Gold Miners Index
Source: MV Index Solutions. Data as of 30 April 2021.
Joe Foster has been Portfolio Manager for the VanEck International Investors Gold Fund since 1998 and the VanEck – Global Gold UCITS Fund since 2012. Mr. Foster, an acknowledged authority on gold, has over 10 years of dedicated experience in geology and mining including as a gold geologist in Nevada. He has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Barron's, and on Reuters, CNBC and Bloomberg TV. Mr. Foster has also published articles in a number of mining journals, including Mining Engineering and Geological Society of Nevada.
The article above is an opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of MV Index Solutions or its affiliates.