China Miners on Hunt for Gold Overseas

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World Economy

Wednesday, August 1,2018

Chinese gold miners are on the hunt for mines overseas, spurred by robust prices of the precious metal. Already the world’s largest gold producer, China’s sees overseas mines as part of the country’s long-term strategic goals of expanding its economic influence and building up its manufacturing might.

Part of this agenda involves working with foreign partners. In early July, Canada’s Barrick Gold, the world’s largest bullion producer, said it would expand cooperation with China’s Shandong Gold Group in developing gold mines, Nikkei reported.

“This agreement will allow us to take our partnership to the next level,” said Barrick Executive Chairman John Thornton about the “enhanced strategic cooperation agreement” with Shandong Gold.

The two companies are building on a deal struck in April 2017 under which Shandong Gold acquired 50% of Barrick’s Veladero mine in Argentina.

The latest move is a clear signal that the Canadian miner has a strong interest in working more closely with the cash-rich Chinese company. It seems likely that Barrick will want to expand the scope of its partnership into areas such as the joint acquisitions of mines.

Since 2013, when gold prices plunged 30% in a year, China has been ramping up overseas gold mining investments. According to state-controlled media, Shandong Gold aims to expand overseas operations to become one of the world’s top 10 gold miners.

Such expansion of gold mining operations abroad could significantly increase supplies, causing prices to fall. But Beijing seems to believe high-quality gold mining projects abroad are essential to ensuring it can weather periods of low prices.

Gold prices are currently hovering in a range of between $1,200 and $1,300 per troy ounce, up nearly 30% from a decade ago.

 

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