Despite the frequent fluctuations in the gold market, gold prices have risen to historic heights. In turn, gold mining has become an even more profitable endeavor. So which mines should investors keep their eyes on?
Gold prices have hit a 150 year high in relation to the price of oil, according to Fortune. Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank, told the publication that “the gold price has just hit an all time high at around 44 times the price of oil. The previous high of 41 in 1892 has just been exceeded.” For reference, the average since 1892 has been a mere 15.5 times the price.
In response to uncertain international financial markets, investors have been flocking to the relatively safe gold market, according to IBTimes. This presents an ideal — one might even say golden — opportunity for newer gold mining operations, who can extract gold ore at even more profitable rates and compete with more established major sites, at least in the short term.
Which players are the mines to watch? Though many mines have plentiful resources, as 24hGold observes, it’s only helpful to track those with the highest quality reserves, or those which would be economically and technologically feasible to extract. Here are Mining.com’s top 10 mines to watch.
Open Pit Mines
- Yanfolila Gold Project, Mali. Operated by Hummingbird Resources, this operation promises to deliver low-cost gold ore by 2017, with a reserve richness of 3 grams per tonne (g/t).
- Ad Duwayhi, Saudi Arabia. A massive Ma’aden project between Riyadh and Taif, this mine will access roughly 1.76 million troy ounces (ozt) of gold — with nearly 2.5 million ozt in gold resources — with a grade of 3.2 g/t.
- New Liberty, Liberia. This Aureus Mining operation rapidly progressed from gold discovery in 2011 to Liberia’s first fully-operational mine today, which they attribute to close access to the capital, Monrovia, and to national stability following the country’s civil war, which ended in 2006. This mine has plentiful reserves, at 905,000 ozt and a 3.3 g/t grade purity.
- South Arturo Project, Nevada, US. This joint venture between Premier Gold and Barrick Gold expects to begin gold production this year, at 200,000 ounces. While its reserves are less than half those of New Liberty, its gold quality ranks at an impressive 4.4 g/t.
- Koka Mining Project, Eritrea. Owned jointly (60-40%, respectively) by the Chinese Zara Mining Share Company and government-run ENAMCO, Koko was expected to begin operations in the fall of 2015. Mining.com estimates that its impressive 5.5 g/t grade reserve pool is likely the highest among any open pit under commissioning worldwide.
- Charter Towers, Australia. Underground operations usually have a higher purity of ore than open pit (albeit with a more difficult extraction process), and this Citigold operation is no exception. At a 7.7 g/t purity, the mine will likely make a significant return on its 620,000 ozt reserves (more than 11.4 million ozt resources). The mine expects to increase output for more than 320,000 ounces annually over the next several years. 4. Eastern Dragon, China. El Dorado Gold expects to complete construction on Eastern Dragon in the first half of 2016, opening up production to 10,000-20,000 ounces a year. Like Charter Towers, its reserve has a gold purity of 7.7 g/t, but with slightly more volume, at 750,000 ozt.
3. Hope Bay Project, Northwest Territories, Canada. In 2013, TMAC Resources acquired Hope Bay from Newmont, proceeding to complete the construction of the then-unfinished infrastructure. Its current 7.7 g/t grade reserves contain an astounding 3.5 million otz, while its total resources total more than 4.5 million ozt at an impressive 9.2 g/t.2. Yaramoko, Burkina Faso. Roxgold boasts one of the highest-purity gold mines in the world with Yaramoko, and according to their website, expects to make a nearly 50% after-tax return on their investment. Their 11.8 g/t reserves span 759 ozt.
1. Brucejack, British Columbia, Canada. The Brucejack Gold Project is truly the mother lode. With a mind-bending reserve of 7.5 million ozt at a purity of 14.1 g/t, Brucejack is one of the purest new mines in the world. Construction is being rapidly completed, and operator Pretivm expects to begin operations in 2017.