Investors are bracing for a weak first quarter from Canada’s biggest gold companies with lower production and higher costs expected amid a marginally higher commodity price.
Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s biggest gold producer, reports Monday after the close, with Goldcorp Inc. and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. to follow later in the week.
“We expect rising labour costs combined with higher energy and consumable costs to put upward pressure on both operating costs and all in sustaining costs (AISC) at maturing mines,” wrote Stephen Walker, head of global mining research with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. in a note previewing earnings season at the senior gold producers.
Barrick has already signalled that costs during its first quarter will be the highest of the year, owing to lower grades at its Nevada operations and maintenance expenses at its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, which it co-owns alongside Goldcorp. Investors will be looking for any progress Barrick has made to end a nasty tax spat between the Tanzanian government and its subsidiary Acacia Mining PLC.
London-based Acacia, which accounts for about 5 per cent of Barrick’s gold production, has been under a gold concentrate export ban in the East Africa country for more than a year. Zambia has accused Acacia of drastically underpaying its taxes.