CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – Mining companies owed it to their host countries and their shareholders to invest in the troughs so that they could reap the benefits in the peaks, Randgold Resources CEO Dr Mark Bristow said on Tuesday.
Speaking during a panel discussion at the 2016 Investing in African Mining Indaba, Bristow said while Africa still has some very exciting unexplored terrain, the gold mining industry had been feeding on itself since the hedging crisis.
“We’ve got to start exploration today,” he said.
Bristow criticised the industry for relying on mergers and acquisitions for growth and surviving on a rising gold price, after having failed to replace mined ounces.
This had left a situation of new discoveries being crucial.
AngloGold Ashanti CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan (Venkat), who took part in the same panel discussion moderated by Metals Focus director Philip Newman, made the point that all things being equal, it was better for companies to build their own mines than to buy them from others.
“The gold industry has an oblique pipeline and as an industry we need to put investments in,” Venkat added.
Bristow argued that a gold bull market could be brought forward if the industry exercised some disciple and those mines that were operating at a loss desisted from continuing to do so.
He criticised mining companies for failing to deliver on their promises to both host governments and shareholders.
Through the super cycle, both governments as custodians of national resources and companies as custodians of their shareholders’ investments, had learnt what not to do.
Governments should be working to free up their inventories of mining rights to be able to hold mining companies more accountable to the use it or lose it principle.
“We owe it to our host countries and our shareholders to do some investing and Africa still has some very exciting unexplored terrains,” said Bristow.