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Falling gold prices took a big bite of out of second quarter earnings at Kinross Gold Corp. and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., but both miners generated solid cash flow and maintained strong balance sheets.
Those two factors are crucial right now. The gold price has taken a nosedive this month, falling below US$1,100 an ounce for the first time since early 2010. Investors want evidence that companies can maintain strong liquidity in case gold remains at these levels for a prolonged period, or goes even lower.
Toronto-based Kinross said it has slightly more than US$1 billion of cash and equivalents on its balance sheet. The company has relatively high costs compared to its rivals, with all-in sustaining costs of US$1,011 an ounce in the second quarter.
But chief executive Paul Rollinson said the firm is well positioned to withstand market volatility, with plenty of options on the table to reduce spending. Kinross announced on Wednesday afternoon that it is in the midst of a “comprehensive spending review” to reduce costs.
“Even if (gold) went lower from here, we’d have a real viable business in how we spend our money and how we manage our business,” he said in an interview.
Kinross reported an adjusted loss in the quarter of US$13.6 million, or US1 cent a share. That was in line with consensus analyst estimates, but down from a profit of US$32.9 million in the same quarter a year ago. In addition to weaker gold prices, Kinross had to temporarily suspend operations at its Maricunga mine in Chile because of poor weather.
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