Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of gold. It has been prized as decoration as long as humankind has been around. It makes a solid foundation for world banking. It has been fought over. It is the stuff of which legends are made. And gold is undeniably beautiful.
Most of the general public and the mineral industry snap to attention when gold is in the news. Reports of new gold finds are especially welcome. But they may be fewer and farther apart if the findings of Halifax’s Metals Economics Group (MEG) are accurate. (www.MetalsEconomics.com)
MEG examined the costs of finding and acquiring gold reserves and found that overall the industry is not discovering new deposits fast enough to meet future production demand.
The report looked closely at major gold producers, those with an output of 450,000 oz or more in 2008. They overcame “… rising costs, equipment and labour shortages, electrical outages, wars, permitting hurdles, typhoons, political opposition, and other obstacles,” the report noted to replace reserves at twice the rate they are mining them. Most of these gains were made through acquisitions or upgrading existing resources due to the high gold price, not through grassroots discoveries.