The Financial Post reports the abrupt departures of Tye Burt of Kinross Gold announced this week and Aaron Regent from Barrick Gold in June "show that investors and boards are fed up with management teams that can’t control runaway costs and capitalize on a strong gold market."
In the last year Kinross, Canada's number three gold producer by output, lost nearly $9 billion in market capitalization as the stock has tumbled 50%.
Kinross has suffered a series of setbacks, including a work stoppage and ballooning costs at its Tasiast mine in Mauritania, West Africa this spring. At the start of the year it announced a $2.5 billion writedown in connection with the Tasiast deal with Red Back, which Burt had championed in 2010.
The world's number one gold miner Barrick – now worth $32 billion – has lost more than a quarter of its value on stock markets this year.
Regent's undoing may have been Barrick Gold's Pascua-Lama project on the Argentina-Chile border. Last week Barrick announced a 50-60% cost blow-out for the project which could end up with a final bill of as much as $8 billion with $3 billion already spent.
The Financial Post quotes Deutsche Bank analyst Jorge Beristain: “We interpret that lack of capital discipline and stock underperformance has reached a breaking point in the mining sector and we expect further management changes to come.”