TORONTO – Newmont Mining’s Gary Goldberg has the title of world’s biggest gold producer within his grasp.
The CEO raised his 2018 production forecast to a range of 4.9-million to 5.4-million ounces. That exceeds Barrick Gold’s 2018 guidance of 4.8-million to 5.3-million given in February, which doesn’t include the impact of the sale of 50% of a mine in Argentina.
While Newmont is already ahead of Barrick by market value, the midpoints of the two companies’ 2017 guidance indicate Barrick will keep Newmont at bay this year in terms of output. That’s not the case in the following years.
Growth was a central theme in Newmont’s investor-day presentation in New York on Wednesday, with executives saying the company is better positioned to expand than peers.
In addition to growing existing operations in the Americas, Africa and Australia, it’s pursuing greenfield exploration around the world, including in Canada’s Yukon, Colombia, Peru, Ethiopia, Australia and the Guiana Shield.
In the last five years, the company has sold $2.8-billion in non-core assets, bought the Cripple Creek & Victor mine, in Colorado, built three new mines and executed nine expansions, Goldberg said. "Taken together, we’ve added more than two million ounces of gold production at all in sustaining costs of about $750/oz.”
By 2024, Newmont’s global share of mined production will be 5%, he said, compared with 4.4% in 2015.
Newmont has also managed to extend its average mine life while lowering costs, with shareholders set to reap more of the benefits. The company is moving away from a dividend linked to the price of gold in a move that will result in at least a 50% increase in payments, CFO Nancy Buese said.
Early this year, Goldberg said he would consider a dividend hike to lure investors from exchange traded funds.
Asked if the company has room for more production increases and lower costs, Goldberg said: “We’ve only just begun.”