Gold miners not over the hump yet—report

The last twelve months have been extremely challenging for the gold industry, but miners are finally beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

On Tuesday, Johannesburg-listed Harmony Gold said its total production for the three months ended September 30 was expected to increase by 12% quarter-on-quarter.

Production at Harmony’s underground mines in South Africa had increased by 15% during the September quarter, while its Hidden Valley operation’s production grew by about 7%.

Canadian Gran Colombia Gold Corp. (TSX: GCM) also reported good news, as it announced its gold output exceeded 80,000 ounces of gold in the first nine months of 2013, 2.4% more than in the same period last year.

And on Friday, Toronto-based Crocodile Gold (TSX: CRK) boosted its 2013 production guidance on the back of higher than expected gold production in the third quarter.

However, gold miners —particularly major players— are not over the hump yet, says Peter Gray, managing director at Headwaters MB.

“My expectations for some of the larger majors, who have strategic positions in commodities or for the diversified industrial producers, will have higher production volumes but not necessarily higher profitability,” Gray told Kitco News.

Using the all-in sustaining costs measure (AISC) supported by the World Gold Council and an increasing number of gold industry professionals, market players such as African Barrick (LON:ABG) and Goldfields (NYSE:GFI) are working under “unsustainable conditions.”

Escalating capital expenditures, write-downs, and falling profits are all factors that have been affecting gold miners, pushing stock prices and valuations to lows not seen since, in some cases, ever.

Whether there is more pain in store for the main gold players will be known next week, when third-quarter results start rolling out.

Image from Everett Collection



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