Gold prices declined slightly on Thursday to $1553.90 as the market discounted another round of quantitative easing by Federal Reserve. Triland Metals told to Kitco News “The U.S. employment figures released today were the best since late 2008 and this added more confusion to the QE3 debate (the prospects of cold turkey looming for the addicts).” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to discuss the outlook for monetary policy next week before Congress.
Spot market gold prices rallied toward the end of the day closing at $ 1572.10 per troy ounce in New York, a 0.3 percent drop from Wednesday’s close of $1,576.60.
The market watchers have shifted their focus to the economic data China on Friday, which is expected to release reports on gross domestic product, industrial production and retail sales. Nouriel Roubini, economist and New York University professor explained to Bloomberg News that “The landing of China is becoming harder rather than softer. It’s the perfect storm. You could have a collapse of the Eurozone, a U.S. double dip, hard landing of China, hard landing of emerging markets and a war in the Middle East. Next year could be a global perfect storm.”
Historically gold prices have often benefited during global economic instability. Roubini indicates the prospect of “a freefall of markets and economy [in which] you don’t have any more of a safety net of enough policy bullets to try to absorb the shocks, because we’ve been spending the last 4 years using 95 percent of those bullets. So we are running out of bullets.”
Goldcorp Inc. (TSE:G) has revised its annual production targets to a range of 2.35 million troy ounces to 2.45 million troy ounces of gold this year, compared to a previous estimate of 2.6 million ounces. The company cited operational issues at its Red Lake mine in Ontario and Penasquito mine in Mexico for the lower production targets. While the expectation of production represents a 6 to 10 percent reduction in target estimates, the market has punished the share price. Trading for Goldcorp shares have demonstrated a 12 percent decline since the announcement was made.
The Department of Mineral Resources has agreed to allow Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) to re-open a part of its Kloof Driefontein Complex West section following last months tragic accident after which five employees lost their lives. The company is being cited as the largest source of mining related fatalities in South Africa with 10 deaths this year and a government directed enquiry is expected to follow.
A Kinross (TSE:K) chartered plane crashed shortly after take-off in the North African country of Mauritania, killing all seven occupants including the pilots. The company said the tragic accident has not affected normal mine operations or flights of personnel to and from the Tasiast mine.
Investors may note that tragic accidents have become a part of the risk profile for all resource mining companies. While tragedies are a very unfortunate cost of mining production, some companies may face additional risks as a result of operating in more remote access environments. This can result in work stoppages or safety inspections which affect balance sheets and ultimately share price appreciation. According to the Global Mining & Metals Team at Ernst & Young the overall risk landscape in the mining sector has become significantly more treacherous during the past year. While it is widely known that mining is one of the riskiest commercial acitivites, the intensity of the risk environment can fluctuate considerably, as highlighted in the just released E&Y report identifying the top 10 risks facing miners in 2012.
Junior company news
Calico Resources Corp (TSXV:CKB,OTCQX:CVXHF) announced that Calico Resources USA Corporation completed its first significant permitting advance in the State of Oregon, with a “completeness determination” on a Notice of Intent to conduct mining operations on patented land at the Grassy Mountain Project.
Eagle Hill Exploration Corporation (TSXV:EAG) reported additional assay results from its current drill program at the Windfall Lake property. The results are part of an ongoing drill program at the project which aims to increase the current mineral resource estimate.
Securities Disclosure: I, Dave Brown, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.