Widening margins in prospect for Goldcorp as costs ease further

28 March 2009 | 03:58 Code : 18904 Geoscience events
Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) could beat its 2009 cost guidance due to the recent declines...

Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) could beat its 2009 cost guidance due to the recent declines in the Canadian dollar and the Mexican peso, and should see widening margins ahead as energy and equipment costs ease while gold prices strengthen, its chief executive said on Monday. The gold miner will resist the recent trend in the sector to issue equity, and while it is on the lookout for takeovers, valuations for quality development properties have become more expensive in the new year, Chuck Jeannes told the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit in New York."There’s always deals out there that make sense but I wouldn’t say there are screaming bargains out there right now," said Jeannes, who took over as CEO of the gold miner at the beginning of the year.He said Goldcorp has added currency hedges at C$1.25-C$1.26 to the U.S. dollar and at 14.50-15 Mexican pesos to the greenback, which should bring its costs below the bottom end of the $365-$400-an-ounce range that it forecast in January. While cost inflation was a huge headache for the industry coming into last year, prices for energy, steel, and reagents such as sulphuric acid have ease as demand has fallen, allowing miners to begin seeing benefits in the most recent quarter.Jeannes sees this continuing, although he cautioned against expecting to see cost savings in labor, which is the biggest piece of the cost pie, despite mass layoffs in the base metals industry."Labor prices have gone up pretty significantly over the last few years and we’re not going to see those come down. You don’t walk into the crew room at the mine and tell everybody they are going to take a cut in pay," he said.The company expects output of about 2.3 million ounces this year, and has forecast a rise to 3.5 million ounces in 2013.This factors in development of its biggest development projects, Penasquito in Mexico and Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic, which is a joint venture with Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote).However, sustained high gold prices could prompt the company to accelerate secondary projects that were put on hold late last year and add to that total, Jeannes said.He said the company plans to expand in the areas it is already active, both through exploration and acquisition, and will not venture outside of its stronghold in the Americas.Jeannes said Goldcorp would likely stay out of "transformative" acquisitions, such as the 2006 takeover of Glamis Gold that thrust the company into the sector’s elite, as he saw no need in growing just for the sake of size."I just don’t see Goldcorp participating in that because I like the position we are in right now," he said.

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