Gold prices hurting miners? Throw Ebola into the mix

Gold prices hurting miners? Throw Ebola into the mix

Already besieged gold miners are the most vulnerable to the lengthy and deadly Ebola outbreak in Africa, Deutsche Bank warned Friday.

In an in-depth assessment of the disease’s likely impact, the bank concludes that from the gold mining companies operating in the continent Randgold Resources (LON:RRS) is particularly exposed due to the locations of its mines, as the company's production is entirely focused on West and Central Africa.

Nordgold and AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) are also in a tough position, with 57% and 53% of their net present value (NPV) in the most affected region respectively, it adds.

Iron ore and aluminum producers, as well as oil drillers also have some exposure. ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) has iron ore assets in both Guinea and Liberia, while Vedanta Resources (LON:VED) is also present in Liberia and African Minerals (LON:AMI) has a mine in Sierra Leone.

Yesterday ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) announced it was postponing operations off the coast of Liberia, a hotspot in the Ebola pandemic.

The Texas-based oil major has a number of projects underway in West Africa, including the recently acquired 80% stake in a project off the coast of Liberia, a joint venture with Canadian Overseas Petroleum.

Cases in the US and Europe

The first case of Ebola outside Africa was reported earlier this week when US citizen Thomas Eric Duncan arrived from Liberia and is now in a hospital in Dallas, Texas.

On Wednesday another American, NBC News reporter in Liberia Ashoka Mukpo was diagnosed with the deadly virus, the channel reported. He is being evacuated to the US for treatment.

On Friday, Germany confirmed its second case of Ebola, as a man flown from West Africa into Frankfurt University Hospital has been placed in an isolation ward, BBC News reported.

According to the latest figures disclosed by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) there have been 7,178 confirmed cases since the first Ebola patient was treated early this year. The agency says there have been 3,338 deaths from Ebola based on information provided by the Ministries of Health of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.