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GOLD MINERS ROUNDUP 40 E&MJ • APRIL 2017 www.e-mj.com The box scores reveal the world's top gold miners saw diminishing returns for ore mining and processing in 2016. This means on average they mined or milled more ore, but saw total gold output fall. Meanwhile prices rose and costs fell. Raw earnings and revenue increased, as did revenue from gold sales. Companies on one hand trumpeted these increases and reported hitting numbers, and on the oth- er, raced to get out of debt. This picture is abstract, but represents the numbers that were reported by the companies in January and February. A summary of the numbers and the questions they raise follows. Total Gold Output Down Total gold output from the top 10 produc- ers 1 fell by an average of 1% year over year (yoy). If Polyus is removed, which upped their output by 12% yoy, average total gold output for the remaining nine falls 3% yoy. For the top five, output fell 4% yoy, while total ore processed increased 3% yoy. Based on their statements, such results were in line with company goals and fore- casts. Top producer Barrick Gold reported that it "exceeded the company's key tar- gets for the year." It processed 2% less gold yoy, but total gold output fell 10% yoy. Goldcorp reported that "full year 2016 gold production guidance was achieved." The company processed 12% less ore yoy, but total gold output fell 17% yoy. At An- gloGold Ashanti, total gold output fell 8% yoy, even though the company processed 5% more ore yoy. The company reported "production of 3.6 million ounces (oz) was within the original guidance for the year." Breaking from the trend were New- mont, Kinross, and, as mentioned, Poly- us. Newmont processed 15% more ore yoy and saw an increase in total gold out- put of 6%. Kinross processed 11% more ore yoy and raised output by 7% yoy. Polyus stands alone in the top 10 as it raised output by 12% yoy, but only pro- cessed 7% more ore yoy. It also stands alone in that it increased its volume of ore mined by 35% yoy to 29.7 million tons. Forgive the repetition, but let's summa- rize for clarity. Consider this, of the top 10 producers, six had negative yoy total gold output. One of the top 10 had no change yoy. Therefore, seven of the top 10 produc- ers had either negative or no growth in to- Peak Gold? Top 10 Gold Miners Process More Ore, Produce Less Gold Despite higher prices and lower costs, world's top producers scramble to get out of debt as output falls By Jesse Morton, Technical Writer 1 All numbers based on company reports posted on or prior to March 1, 2017. Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat and Zijin Mining Group did not publish their 2016 results as of that date. When reporting on debt, in all calculations, the debt of Polyus was not factored in due to it being, relative to that of the other companies, an extreme outlier, an almost 900% increase yoy.