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TOP 5 GOLD PRODUCERS: Stunning Decline In Gold Productivity


 -- Published: Sunday, 28 June 2015 | Print  | Disqus 

By Steve St. Angelo, SRSrocco Report

This is a chart every gold investor needs to see.  While the gold mining industry works harder every year to produce the highly sought-after monetary metal, its overall productivity continues to decline.  Actually, decline is too soft of a word to describe what’s taking place in the world’s leading gold producers.

If we look at the at the top five gold producers since 2005, their productivity deteriorated a stunning 50% since 2005.  In 2013, the top five gold producers (Barrick, Newmont, AngloGold, GoldCorp & GoldFields) consumed the most diesel ever:

Diesel Consumption At The Top 5 Gold Producers

In just nine years, the top five gold producers nearly doubled their diesel consumption from 320 million gallons (MG) in 2005 to 591 MG in 2013.  I haven’t updated these figures for 2014, because most of the companies haven’t released their figures for 2014 (found in their Sustainability Reports).  The reason I am posting this information on 2013’s figures now… I failed to update some of this information last year.

Here is the breakdown of the individual companies diesel consumption:

Total 2013 Diesel Consumption

Barrick = 220 million gals

Newmont = 179 million gals

AngloGold = 95 million gals

GoldCorp = 65 million gals

GoldFields = 38 million gals

So, why is this such a big deal.  Well, if we look at the next chart, it puts it all into perspective:

Top 5 Gold Miners Gold Production & Diesel Consumption

The top five companies diesel consumption per ounce of gold produced doubled from 12.7 gallons per oz (gal/oz) in 2005 to 25.8 gal/oz in 2013, while production declined from 25.2 million oz (Moz) to 22.9 Moz respectively.  This has everything to do with decline of average gold yield from the group which fell from 1.7 grams per ton (g/t) in 2005 to less than 1.2 g/t in 2013. 

Basically, the top five gold miners have to move a lot more ore to produce the same (or actually less) gold than they did just nine years ago.

One company that released their 2014 energy consumption figures was Newmont.  Actually, Newmont’s total diesel consumption declined from 179 MG in 2013 to 158 MG in 2014.  This was due to lower gold production as well as much lower volumes of waste rock.  Newmont’s waste rock fell from 620 million tons in 2013 to 398 million tons in 2014.  I would imagine part of the reason for the decline in waste rock was due to Newmont high-grading its mines.  This is the mining technique of extracting the higher grade ore, resulting in higher gold yields with less waste rock removal.

I believe Barrick’s diesel consumption will also decline in 2014 as they cut back on the construction of many projects and also high-graded some of its gold mines.  2013 may turn out to be the year that the top five gold producers peaked in their total diesel consumption.  Thus, peak of global gold production may be close at hand.

Please check back for new articles and updates at the SRSrocco Report.  You can also follow us at Twitter below:

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 -- Published: Sunday, 28 June 2015 | E-Mail  | Print  | Source: GoldSeek.com

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