CMJ has been publishing its ranking of Canada’s Top 40 mining companies for over 40 years.
While the industry has been through many shocks during that time, including commodity price swings, the Bre-X scandal and stock market crashes, 2020 is an interesting time to be evaluating the industry’s performance.
Last year’s performance was already mixed, with 22 of the Top 40 reporting a net proﬁt, and 10 companies reporting a net loss for both 2019 and 2018.
As a backward looking exercise, the effects of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, which began in earnest in March, won’t be measured until next year’s Top 40.
However, looking at the names in our ranking that have already disappeared through mergers during the ﬁrst half of 2020 highlights some themes that will undoubtedly show up in next year’s report.
Detour Gold (No. 20), Leagold Mining (No. 28) and Semafo (No. 30) – all gold producers – have been acquired in takeovers that closed in the ﬁrst seven months of 2020.
With a gold price that was heading toward US$1,900 per oz. at press time, up from US$1,500 at the end of 2019, gold M&A is certain to continue and accelerate.
That’s likely to include more no-premium, merger-of-equal deals – a trend that began with the Barrick Gold-Randgold tieup in 2019. (We proﬁle Equinox Gold, a new Top 40 entry that acquired Leagold Mining in just such a deal this year, on page 29.)
By the way, keep an eye on Kirkland Lake Gold, which acquired Detour Gold this January and seems determined to make it into the top 10. The company jumped eight spots this year to No. 11 – before any impacts from the Detour takeover. Kirkland Lake has been advancing steadily in the Top 40, climbing two spots to No. 19 last year, and nine spots in our 2018 ranking.
Notably, this is the ﬁrst year that gold giant Newmont has been eligible for our list, after closing its acquisition of Goldcorp in April 2019. This allows us to compare the world’s two biggest gold miners, Newmont and Barrick Gold, which reported nearly identical revenue last year (see comparison on page 24-25).
This is also the ﬁrst year that Magda Gardner, who joined our team as news editor last fall, has compiled our Top 40 report. Trained as a mining engineer and having worked as a research associate, Magda brings a sharp eye to the analysis.
Based on her experience, she’s made some changes to the ratios we use to assess ﬁnancial performance. She’s also separated out oilsands companies from the main ranking, as their business is materially different from mining.
As the two oilsands companies excluded from the main list would have both been in the Top 10 (Suncor Energy would be No. 2 and Canadian Natural Resources at No. 6), readers should be aware that this means that this year’s list is not directly comparable with previous years.
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