Blogs & Comment

Mining execs on recovery

The mining industry has had a wild ride since the markets collapsed last fall, with gold bouncing between a close price of $712/oz and $993/oz between September and today. Golds average price during this time has been $859/oz and today its at about $926/oz. The yellow metal is down but not far off from its record high of $1,032 reached March 2008. Some predictions have called for gold to rise to thousands of dollars an ounce while others have called for gold to drop several hundreds of dollars. Both gold bugs and bears can make a sound argument, but the market is what it is, and predictions arent tough to make. Accurate predictions, however, are. All of the above is a long introduction to a new survey of 130 mining executives. The survey was released last week by Torontos Bedford Consulting Group and it found that the executives, who hailed from all over the world, are split on when their industry will recover. About half of the executives, 47%, expect the industry to show recovery by the second-half of this year, while 45% anticipate the recovery not take place before the fourth quarter of 2010. The others predict the recession will drag on beyond 2010. The mining brass identified four specific areas holding back minings recovery. These include: lack of available credit, a declining markets for metals, the volatility of commodity prices and difficulty finding new sources of investment financing. While none of these should come as a surprise, its a good check on what the industry is thinking. The vast majority of executives a whopping 92% also predict that for the remainder of 2009 capital projects will be delayed and 72% of executives anticipate further shutdowns in operations. As for the commodity thats most likely to show improvements this year, 84% executives gave the nod to gold. Other commodities likely to show improvement this year include base metals, uranium, potash and iron ore. For investors out there, this isnt a hint to start investing in these commodities. But these predictions are good to tuck away, make good fodder for water-cooler chat, and add to your own research.