Gold Miners Lose $169 Billion as Price Slump Adds ETF Pain

Apr. 18, 2013

Gold producers, ignored as global stocks rebounded in the past two years and investors turned to exchange-traded funds that track bullion, face closing mines or shutting themselves down after the metal’s worst slump in three decades this week made 15 percent of miners unprofitable.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) and Newmont Mining Corp., the world’s two largest producers, are among companies in the FTSE Gold Mines Index (FTMIGMI) that have collectively lost about $169 billion in market value since bullion peaked in 2011. Gold equities are trading at the lowest level relative to gold in at least 20 years after the metal’s 13 percent plunge so far in April.

[...]To be sure, even if prices don’t recover, some companies will continue to be profitable. Barrick’s all-in production cost, which includes everything from exploration to waste-rock removal expenses, was $972 an ounce in the first quarter. Newmont’s all-in cost was $1,192.

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