JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The consolidation of the global gold mining industry has masked its stagnation over the past five years and it now urgently needs to make new discoveries, says Dr. Mark Bristow, chief executive of Randgold Resources.
Bristow says the industry's combined exploration expenditure peaked in 1997 and since then has dropped off sharply to less than a third of that level. Over the same period, the number of active gold mining companies has shrunk by some 15%. The new gold supply has grown by a mere 1.5% year-on-year since 1991, before making any deductions for hedging.
"There has in effect been a steady decline in production, which has been masked by the frenzy of consolidation in the industry over the past few years. However, while consolidation can preserve or unlock existing value, the only way to create new value is through exploration, development and innovation. Quite simply, as an industry, we need to find more new viable gold mines," says Bristow.
More of Bristow's remarks can be found a www.randgoldresources.com.