Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Crude Oil Price Trend Forecast 2016 Update - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Will Deutsche Bank Crash The Global Stock Market? - Clif_Droke
3.Gold Price In Excess Of $8000 While US Dollar Collapses - Hubert_Moolman
4.BrExit UK Economic Collapse Evaporates, GDP Forecasts for 2016 and 2017 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Gold Stocks Massive Price Correction - Zeal_LLC
6.Stock Market Predicts Donald Trump Victory - Austin_Galt
7.Next Financial Crisis Will be Far Worse than 2008/09 - Chris_Vermeulen
8.The Gold To Housing Ratio As A Valuation Indicator - Dan_Amerman
9.GDXJ Gold Stocks - A Diamond in the Rough - Rambus_Chartology
10.Gold Boom! End Game Nears As Central Banks Buying Up Gold Mining Companies! - Jeff_Berwick
Last 7 days
US Presidential Election Forecast 2016 - Trump Riding BrExit Wave into the White House - 25th Sept 16
US Economy GDP Growth Estimates in Free-Fall: FRBNY Nowcast 2.26% Q3, 1.22% Q4 - 24th Sept 16
Gold and Gold Stocks Corrective Action Continues Despite Dovish Federal Reserve - 24th Sept 16
Global Bonds: Why Our Analyst Says Things Just Got "Monumental" - 24th Sept 16
Where Did All the Money Go? - 23rd Sept 16
Pension Shortfalls Could Be 4X To 7X Greater Than Reported - 23rd Sept 16
Gold Unleashed by the Fed - 23rd Sept 16
Gold around U.S Presidential Elections - 23rd Sept 16
Here’s Why Eastern Europe Is Doomed - 23rd Sept 16
Nasdaq NDX 100 Big Cap Tech Breakout ? - 23rd Sept 16
The Implications of the Italian Banking Crisis Could Be Disastrous - 22nd Sept 16
TwinLakes Theme Park Summer Super 6 FREE Return Entry for Real? - 21st Sept 16
Has the Silver Bullet Run Out of Fire Power? - 21st Sept 16
Frack Sand: The Unsung Hero Of The OPEC Oil War - 21st Sept 16
What’s Happening With Gold? - 21st Sept 16
Gold vs. Stocks and Commodities, Pre-FOMC - 20th Sept 16
BrExit UK Inflation CPI, RPI Forecast 2016, 2017 - 20th Sept 16
European banks may be more important than the Fed this week - 20th Sept 16
Gold, Silver, Stocks and Bonds Grand Ascension or Great Collapse? - 20th Sept 16
Mass Psychology in Action; Instead of Selling Gilead it is Time to Take a Closer Look - 20th Sept 16
Hillary - Finally Well Deserved Recognition for Deplorables - 20th Sept 16
Fascist Business Model: Reich Economics - 19th Sept 16
Multiweek Correction in Gold and Silver Markets Continues - 19th Sept 16
Stock Market May Turn Ugly This Week - 19th Sept 16
China Is Digging Itself into a Deeper Hole - 19th Sept 16
Yellen’s Footnote 8 Would Put Interest Rates on Autopilot - 19th Sept 16
Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Revolution in Banking? - 19th Sept 16
UK Government Surrenders to China / France to Build Nuclear Fukushima Plant At Hinkley Point C - 19th Sept 16
Stock Market Correction Already Over? - 18th Sept 16
American Economics - 18th Sept 16

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The Power of the Wave Principle

Most Gold Miners are Sacrificing Profits for Growth

Commodities / Gold & Silver Stocks Nov 11, 2012 - 12:36 PM GMT

By: DailyWealth

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMatt Badiali writes: Hardcore gold and gold-stock investors are a unique breed.

They are not like "normal" investors. Most hardcore gold investors see gold (and often silver) as the only real form of money. They expect it to soar when the world falls apart. They fall in love with gold... more so than an investor likes his shares of Google or Microsoft. So when gold and gold stocks fail to live up to bullish expectations, the level of disappointment is very high.



I see gold as "real money" as well. I'm a proud gold owner. But my job is to help readers make money, not to get emotionally attached to any one investment.

That's why we need to understand why over the last decade... an investment in gold bullion performed 30% better than the largest gold miners in the industry. If you don't understand what I'm about to tell you, you could be making a huge mistake...

Historically, companies that mine and produce gold do well as the price of gold rises.

However, since 2002, the gold price has risen 446%, while the benchmark index of gold-mining stocks – the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index ("HUI") – is up just 344%. And gold bullion has outperformed mining companies by a ratio of 5-to-1 since January 2010.

According to Michael Kosowan, a former engineer with giant miner Placer Dome, the reason is simple... Most miners sacrificed profits for growth.

These companies had little competition for gold-investing dollars. Before 2005, the only way to invest in gold was to buy bullion or gold-mining stocks. And since investors rewarded companies that grew (by valuing businesses on the size of their reserves)...

Grow they did – poorly and with little discipline.

The companies' primary focus wasn't running profitable mines... but tapping as much of that investment capital as possible. Whether a mining project could ever turn a profit mattered less than simply jacking up reserve numbers. So the companies routinely overpaid for bad assets.

That devastated their shareholders' returns. Let me show you what that looked like with a well-known gold miner...

From 2005 to 2011, Agnico-Eagle added 8 million ounces of gold to its reserves – an impressive 80% surge from its 2005 reserve total of 10.4 million. It even grew production by 308%. That all looks great... especially when you factor in gold's run from $425 per ounce to more than $1,500 per ounce during that period.

That should be the ideal situation – growing gold production, while gold prices are soaring.

The following chart shows how well investing in growth worked out... It shows two key measures of Agnico-Eagle's business – profit margin and return on invested capital (ROIC).


While the profit per ounce looked great in 2006-2007, the more insidious number here is the ROIC. This simple measure shows us how much profit a company makes from the money it plows into the business. And as you can see, Agnico-Eagle's ROIC is in the single digits, hitting a low of 3% in 2011. That's terrible...

Gold prices were sailing higher... But Agnico's acquisitions were low-margin businesses – properties that cost a lot of money to mine.

About half of Agnico's reserve growth during the period came from its "flagship" acquisition, the Meadowbank mine. In 2007, Agnico-Eagle acquired Cumberland Resources, which owned Meadowbank, for C$710 million. It was touted as a low-cost gold producer in the Nunavut region in far northeastern Canada.

When Agnico evaluated Meadowbank for acquisition, the company projected mining costs at $224 an ounce, well below the average price of gold at the time – $604 an ounce. In fact, today, mining costs run around $1,040 per ounce.

Part of the problem is location. Transportation is a component of production costs... and transporting gold from remote Nunavut is wildly expensive. Another problem is that Agnico thought the mine would help propel its production to more than 1.3 million ounces per year by 2010... That didn't quite happen. The company produced 990,000 ounces last year... well short of its stated goal.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, the company wrote off $604 million on the project... 85% of its initial acquisition price four years earlier.

That's $604 million of shareholder money gone forever. And it shows. Over the last five years, gold has more than doubled in price. Agnico shares are barely up 10%. You would have increased your returns 10-fold by simply stashing Maple Leafs under your mattress.

I picked on Agnico-Eagle today... but it's not the only big miner involved in this scheme. Gold-producing companies spent the last 10 years acquiring and merging with each other, pursuing growth at all costs. And we now have a handful of big mining companies saddled with lots of uneconomic assets.

In my next essay, I'll show you the worst of the bunch... and what gold-stock investors must be on the lookout for.

Good investing,

Matt Badiali

This "growth over profits" mentality is a huge problem for gold-stock investors... And last month, Matt showed readers one way this scheme can steal the cash right out of your pocket. Learn why it's so important to do your homework on gold stocks here.

http://www.dailywealth.com

The DailyWealth Investment Philosophy: In a nutshell, my investment philosophy is this: Buy things of extraordinary value at a time when nobody else wants them. Then sell when people are willing to pay any price. You see, at DailyWealth, we believe most investors take way too much risk. Our mission is to show you how to avoid risky investments, and how to avoid what the average investor is doing. I believe that you can make a lot of money – and do it safely – by simply doing the opposite of what is most popular.

Customer Service: 1-888-261-2693 – Copyright 2011 Stansberry & Associates Investment Research. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. This e-letter may only be used pursuant to the subscription agreement and any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, LLC. 1217 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore MD 21202

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Daily Wealth Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife