Gold producers, ignored as global stocks rebounded in the past two years and investors turned to exchange-traded funds that track bullion, face closing mines or shutting themselves down after the metal’s worst slump in three decades this week made 15 percent of miners unprofitable.
This month’s futures price drop to as low as $1,361.10 an ounce brings gold closer to the global average production cost of about $1,200 an ounce, according to Nomura Holdings Inc. That puts producers such as Canada’s Semafo Inc. and Golden Star Resources Ltd. at risk of mine closures or “financial distress” if prices fall to that level, according to Macquarie Group Ltd. Tanzania, Africa’s fourth-largest gold-producer, said a sustained slump may shut mines there.
“Any company that hasn’t been focused on efficiencies and costs for the last three to four years is going to fail in this market,” said Gavin Thomas, chief executive officer of Sydney- based gold miner Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd.
Gold’s 9.3 percent plunge on April 15, the biggest one-day drop in New York since March 1980, couldn’t have come at a worse time for gold companies.
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