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moneymetals

Physical Gold Production May Be Peaking, But There Is No Shortage In Paper Gold

Gold production numbers for 2017 are still being compiled but estimates call for the first annual decline in mine output since 2008.

The gold price fell dramatically in the months following the 2011 peak in prices. It has languished at, or near, the cost of production for years. Low gold prices are having a predictable effect on mine output.

Many projects with marginal ore deposits were rendered uneconomic. High cost operators went out of business. Exploration budgets got slashed dramatically. And all of these factors compound a larger underlying issue. It is increasingly difficult to find gold deposits that make sense to mine. New discoveries are less than a fifth of what they were in 2006.

Exploration fail (chart)

Much higher gold prices will drive more exploration and should boost discoveries. Some projects which have been mothballed due to higher costs will become feasible once again. But the trend seems clear – the drought in discoveries, which began more than a decade ago, looks likely to persist regardless of the gold price. And the struggle to find economic deposits will translate to a serious decline in production in the years ahead.


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