Though the first half of the year has been dominated by talk of vaccines, the post-COVID-19 recovery and a buoyancy in industrial metals markets not seen for a decade, precious metals promoters have not broken stride.
With gold prices ticking back up above US$1,900/oz, they remain upbeat about the effects of further doses of stimulus, inflation and negative real rates.
Higher gold prices since the summer of 2020 have already sparked a wave of corporate activity, and with prospects good for the gold sector over the short-to- mid-term, we thought it wise to take a closer look at future gold supply.
That the project development pipeline is not brimming with top quality assets will come as a surprise to few within the industry, especially given the lack of exploration dollars dispensed by the majors in recent years, but the relative lack of meaningfully sized projects to have reached the feasibility study stage still came as a bit of shock.
In the Americas, we identified 19 projects at the feasibility stage in the hands of junior miners, representing 36.6Moz of aggregate potential production, some 3.2Moz of potential annual gold production and US$6.3 billion of initial capital expenditure. Of these, two have been acquired and four appear to be going nowhere fast, leaving just 13 across both continents.
But it was in Africa where the lack of investment really showed: there are just seven FS-stage projects in development, and two of them - Cardinal's Namdini and Resolute's Bibiani - have already being acquired, both by China-based companies.
The information contained in this report was initially published earlier in the year, so the status of some projects may have changed since then, but the central message is clear: a surge in supply any time soon is unlikely