Top Gold CEOs Say Soaring Costs Will Hobble Mining Industry Into 2023

The world’s top gold mining executives see cost pressures sticking around into next year, adding to industry headwinds fueled by economic and political uncertainty, supply-chain disruptions and surging interest rates.

Those gathering at the Denver Gold Forum this week shared a collective view that the current economic environment is unprecedented. Gold producers are grappling with the byproduct of a hawkish US central bank whose efforts to combat inflation have supercharged the dollar and driven down bullion prices. Gold prices are under pressure and equities tied to the yellow metal have slumped. A gauge of gold companies has fallen 16% this year, lagging the 7.9% decline of the precious metal.

“We find ourselves living in interesting times as the global economies and geopolitical environment hit another inflection point,” Mark Bristow, chief executive officer of Barrick Gold Corp., said at the Colorado confab. “It’s arguable that the last time we faced such uncertainty was the Second World War.”

Wednesday is the final day of the Denver Gold Forum, with the 34th annual event wrapping up just as the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points for a third straight time and signaled a more aggressive-than-expected path of hikes to come. Investors attending the Colorado gathering privately admit they feel depressed at the level where gold equities and prices are trading, though they also accept that the near-term outlook remains challenging in the face of a stronger dollar.