A Gold Production Cliff Could Be Coming In 2017

February 4, 2013 at 09:12


Cash flow has stalled for the world’s major gold producers despite high gold prices, which probably means we’re heading for a gold production cliff, according to National Bank Financial. That means higher prices.

From NBF’s mining analyst team, led by Steve Parsons:

As gold companies grew, too few large deposits have been discovered to sustain current production rates. Though, in recent years, the development of a handful of large mines and the threat of others to follow provided the useful impression that the Production Cliff would be deferred, at least to the point where it was perceived to be a next-cycle problem. No such luck. Project congestion marked by capacity constraints and resultant delays and cost pressures has forced a more orderly sequencing of projects. High-quality projects have stayed at the front of the queue with delays, while the rest have seen significant delays or, worse, been shelved.

On an aggregate basis using mine and project reserves, we forecast an increase in gold production over the next three years as Barrick, Newmont, Goldcorp and Yamana complete the construction and ramp-up cycle for projects that are already in the queue. Thereafter, starting in approximately 2017, production declines are in the cards for nearly all companies as the project queue and discovery frequency are inadequate to replace production.