By Chris Hopkins,
Senior Vice President, Aggregates and Mining, The Saint Consulting Group
In a recent report, The Daily Telegraph in the UK looked at the decline of global gold production and efforts by Barrick Gold, the world’s top producer, to wind down the remaining 3 million ounces of its infamous hedge book over the next 12 months, an implicit bet on rising gold prices over time.
How will this affect the mining efforts in the United States? In 2001 an ounce of gold sold for under $300 per ounce and on November 12, 2009 it closed at $1,106 an ounce. Mining in the United States has decreased significantly during the same period of time. In 2000 there was 350 metric tons mined annually in the US, in 2009 it is estimated that the number has dropped to 250 metric tons annually.
It can take years to obtain a mining permit in the best circumstances and with NIMBY and environmental opposition, that can add more years onto the process. For the full Telegraph report, click here