Regardless of how the gold price is doing in any given year, there will always be companies looking to mine the yellow metal. 2015 wasn’t a great year for the gold price, but with gold finally cracking the $1,300 level and continuing to rise post-Brexit, things could be looking up for gold in 2016.
Despite rising prices, gold production around the world is predicted to decline for the year. Thomson Reuters GFMS found that gold production increased less than one percent, or 3,158 tonnes, in 2015. An increase in output from Indonesia and North American countries was offset by decreases in production in China and in a number of African countries. Looking ahead to 2016, the firm expects gold mine production to decrease for the first time since 2008.
Here’s a list of the top 10 gold-producing companies of 2015, as per statistics from the Thomson Reuters GFMS gold survey.
1. Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX,NYSE:ABX)
Production: 190.3 tonnes
Barrick Gold took the top spot on the list of the world’s largest gold producers again in 2015, despite seeing a slight decline in output from the year previous. However, the drop isn’t as steep as the one the gold miner saw between 2013 and 2014, when the industry leader went from 222.9 tonnes of gold production to 194.4 tonnes. The fall came as the company went through structural shifts that led to modifications in production. Those adjustments allowed Barrick to become more flexible with its finances, but changed the pace of production.
“Our production will be measured by quality, not quantity,” the company stated in its 2015 results release. “While we are producing fewer ounces today than we have in recent years, we are generating significantly more cash. With the largest reserve and resource base in the industry, we have many options within our existing portfolio to maintain and grow free cash flow beyond 2020. ”
Barrick found itself in hot water following the leakage of over a million liters of cyanide solution from its Veladero mine in Argentina last September.
2. Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM,TSX:NMC)
Production: 156.6 tonnes
Newmont Mining, which has significant operations in both North and South America, as well as Asia, Australia and Africa, produced 156.6 tonnes of gold in 2015, an increase from 2014′s 150.7 tonnes. In June 2014, the company had to suspend operations at its Batu Hijau copper-gold mine due to ongoing governmental export restrictions.
The company received a six month export permit in November 2015, and noted an increase in gold production at the mine in Q4.
3. AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU)
Production: 128 tonnes
AngloGold Ashanti produced 128 tonnes of gold in 2015, a relatively substantial drop from the 138 tonnes it produced in 2014. The South African company has 17 gold operations in 9 countries, as well as numerous exploration projects around the world.
In April 2016, AngloGold reported that illegal miners had taken control of parts of its Obuasi mine in Ghana, according to Bloomberg. Hundreds of men invaded the mine in February.
4. Goldcorp (TSX:G,NYSE:GG)
Production: 107.8 tonnes
Goldcorp upped its gold production from 82.9 tonnes in 2014 to 107.8 tonnes last year. The company is one of the world’s fastest-growing senior gold producers and is headquartered in Vancouver. Goldcorp operates four mines in Canada, three in Mexico and four in Central and South America.
For 2016, Goldcorp is forecasting between 2.8 and 3.1 million ounces of gold production.
5. Kinross Gold (TSX:K,NYSE:KGC)
Production: 78.4 tonnes
Kinross Gold is a Canada-based mining company with projects in Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Mauritania, Russia and the US. In 2015, the company produced 78.4 tonnes of gold — down from the 82.2 tonnes it produce in 2015.
“In 2015, Kinross continued to deliver consistent and strong operational results. We finished the year at the high end of our production guidance and the low end of our guidance for all-in sustaining costs while recording the lowest cost of sales since 2011,” said Kinross CEO J. Paul Rollinson in the company’s 2015 results release.
“Our outlook remains strong for 2016, with record production and lower all-in sustaining cost of sales forecasts.”
6. Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM)
Production: 77.4 tonnes
Newcrest Mining produced 77.4 tonnes of gold in 2015, slightly up from the 72.4 tonnes it produced the previous year. The company operates mines in four countries.
Newcrest recently resumed mining operations at part of its Gosowong operations in Indonesia following the rescue of a miner from the Kencana mine. Kencana was struck by a geotechnical event in February, leaving a miner trapped underground for eight days.
7. Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat
Production: 74.9 tonnes
Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat bumped its production to 74.9 tonnes of gold in 2015 compared to 73 tonnes produced the year before. According to the Uzbekistan-based company, the active support and constant attention from the government and President I.A. Karimov are the primary reasons it has been able to grow into a major producer of gold.
8. Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI)
Production: 62.9 tonnes
Gold Fields is a globally diversified gold producer with eight operating mines in Australia, Ghana, Peru and South Africa. In 2015, the company produced 62.9 tonnes of the metal, a drop from the 63.6 tonnes it produced in 2014.
9. Polyus Gold International (LSE:PGIL)
Production: 54.8 tonnes
Polyus Gold produced 54.8 tonnes of gold in 2015. That’s slightly higher than its 2014 total, which came in at 52.7 tonnes.
Polyus is the largest gold producer in Russia and holds over 67 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves. Principal operations are located in Eastern Siberia and the Far East; those include five operating mines, alluvial operations and several advanced development projects.
10. Agnico Eagle (TSX:AEM)
Production: 52 tonnes
Finally, Agnico Eagle made it onto the list of the world’s largest gold miners this year with 52 tonnes of production, a sizeable increase from its 2014 prodcution of 44.5 tonnes.
2015 marked the fourth year in a row that Agnico Eagle exceeded its production guidance, and the company expects to see stable production and costs through 2018. “Over the next three years, we are forecasting stable annual production and costs, which should allow us to continue to invest in our existing mines, maintain funding levels at our key exploration projects, advance our development pipeline in Nunavut at a steady and measured pace and maintain our history of continuous dividend payments to shareholders,” said Agnico Eagle CEO Sean Boyd in the company’s release.
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This article was originally published by the Investing News Network on April 20 2016.