Meltdown for mining stocks

The gold price plunged by as much as $145 on Monday, the worst trading day in history and a more than 9% drop on the day.

The gold price fell to $1,355 in mid-morning – down $145 from the Friday close of $1,501 in New York – to a level last seen in January 2011.

Ever-volatile silver exaggerated gold's drop , giving  up more than 12% or $3.20 to $23.13 an ounce, heading for a close not seen since October 2010.

July platinum futures slumped 5.8% or $85.80 to $1,410 an ounce while palladium was also hard hit, down giving up 7.33% or more than $50 to trade at $658.20 an ounce.

Copper slid to lows last seen in October 2011, but losses for the metals bellwether was relatively contained. Copper was last changing hands for $3.28 a pound, a 2.2% decline from Friday's close.

The retreat copper and precious metals led to a bloodbath for mining stocks with counters dropping across the board.

Mining's Big 3, world number one miner BHP Billiton (LON:BHP), Brazil's Vale (NYSE:VALE) and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) all lost more than 6% on Monday.

Of the top diversified miners XStrata's ADRs listed in New York traded was the top loser, down 10.3% while merger partner Glencore International (LON:GLEN) shed more than 6%, Anglo American (LON:AAL) shares moved lower 6.3% and Canada's Teck Resources (TSX:TCK) was also one of the hardest hit giving up 9.3%.

Copper giant Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) declined 8.6%, Southern Copper Corp (NYSE:SCCO) managed to keep losses at 7.7% while fellow South American copper producer Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) dropped just over 8%.
Not surprisingly gold producers were among the worst performers.

Barrick Gold Corp (TSX:ABX) lost 11% bringing the losses over the past trading week for the Toronto-based global number one gold miner to over 23%. Barrick's pain began before the gold price drop on Wednesday when a court in Chile ordered a halt to work at its massive Pascua-Lama project. Barrick is worth just over $20 billion on the TSX, less than half it was worth in 2011.

Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) shed 6.8%, while the world's third largest gold producer behind Newmont, AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) gave up 9.1%. The Johannesburg-based company's ADRs listed in New York is down a 40% year to date.

Fellow South African miner Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) traded down 7.2%. Canadian gold counter Goldcorp (TSX:G) lost 5% while peer Kinross Gold (TSX:K) – which this year overtook Goldcorp as the world fifth largest gold miner in terms of output – suffered a staggering 12% drop on the day. Toront0-based Kinross which has been plagued by production problems is down more than 42% since the start of the year.