Agnew Gold Mine Now Powered by Australia’s Largest Hybrid, Renewable Microgrid

Agnew Gold Mine Now Powered by Australias Largest Hybrid, Renewable Microgrid

With so little in terms of positive mining developments since the industry went on a cost-cutting spree post-2011, it can feel as if any news are great news. Yet the latest gold mining trend surrounding Gold Fields’ mine in Australia go past discovering new ore or opening a new spot, and have to do with innovations in an industry sometimes considered stagnant.

Gold Fields is one of the largest gold producers in the world, with a total of nine mines spread across Australia, Peru, South Africa and West Africa and Chile. Its Agnew gold mine in Australia is now the testing grounds for the largest hybrid renewable microgrid in the country.

The Agnew gold mine is the first gold mine in the country to be powered primarily by wind-generated energy, as part of an ongoing bid to utilize renewable energy sources on a global scale. The venture was funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which gave $13.5 million through its Advancing Renewables Program.

The microgrid itself is constructed, powered and maintained by global energy producer EDL. In a press release, the company shared some specifics pertaining to the microgrid, revealing that it amounts to 56MW, 50%-60% of which come frome renewable sources. According to the press release, weather conditions can bring the percentage up to 85.

CEO James Harman boasted that the mine is a showcase of both engineering prowess and persistence, as the project was launched amid bushfires, supply chain disruptions and a global crisis that saw the mining industry come under even more setbacks. Furthermore, while wind is the primary one, the CEO stated that the project utilizes as many as five different sources of renewable energy.

Stuart Mathews, Gold Fields Executive Vice President for Australasia, also said that the company is proud to partner with EDL in such a manner, underscoring that both the construction and operation of the project went well. As it stands now, EDL owns close to 100 renewable energy stations that span throughout Australia, North America and Europe.

While not explicitly stating that the technology would be utilized in its other mines, Mathews noted that the Agnew mine has provided the company with a framework on how to utilize renewable energy in its operations worldwide. Having the gold mining industry act as the center of renewable energy innovations during a time of peak appetite for these solutions is indeed promising. Perhaps the success of the Agnew gold mine and its renewable microgrid can bring some welcome sparks to the sector.

Inflation? Stagflation? Gold Is Fine With Either

Inflation? Stagflation? Gold is fine with either...

Gold’s price has seen some action recently, again climbing past strong resistance at $1,800 to a high of $1,813 before finishing the day above $1,790. Does this mean that market participants are finally, but very slowly, waking up to the economic reality? TD Securities’ analysts seem to think so, having initiated a $1,850 and $2,000 long call spread for gold’s price for April.

In their recent report, the commodity analysts said that inflation, stagflation and dubious tightening all play a part in the bullish forecast for the next four months. Even with nothing to support the notion, the markets still seem to be fully pricing in some kind of Federal Reserve tightening. This includes a reduction of the balance sheet, hikes and so on. This sentiment has been weighing heavily on gold over the past months, with November being the targeted date. It remains to be seen how the Fed intends to tighten its monetary policy in the current environment.

Wade Guenther, managing partner at Wilshire Phoenix, recently told Kitco that he believes the Fed won’t be able to rein in inflation. Guenther has also dismissed the idea that supply chain disruptions are being caused by consumer spending, something that has garnered quite a bit of ridicule as of late, and supports a far more grounded view that the cause is across-the-board inflation.

With the ever-hawkish Fed Chair Jerome Powell going as far as to admit that these disruptions could persist well into next year, it’s turning inflation into an even bigger problem, and also a worldwide one. In Canada, the latest report on consumer prices showed that they have risen to their highest level in more than a decade.

As TD Securities’ analysts noted, this is part of why stagflation is becoming a greater concern with every passing week. The threat of energy prices rising has turned into what the analysts call a global energy crisis, one that seems to be intensifying. There is also much to be said about crumbling economies, an issue that everyone seems to be ignoring right now. With hyperinflation being mentioned on one end and parallels being drawn with the Great Depression on the other, we might yet see the term stagflation redefined.

Another interesting bit of information is that speculators have, mostly based on optimistic sentiment, liquidated more than 190 tons of paper gold this year. Yet the massive dump, as opposed to slicing the metal’s price, only seems to have thwarted its rise for the time being.

Regardless of whether we see inflation or stagflation, TD Securities says that the conflux of factors appears to have primed the gold market for a very strong move upwards by early next year. In the shorter term, Saxo Bank’s head of commodity strategy Ole Hansen said that a breakout above $1,835 could move a lot of interest away from the stock market and into gold.

Inflation, Other Forces Will Continue to Push Gold Higher

Inflation, Other Forces Will Continue to Push Gold Higher

As Forbes contributor Frank Holmes points out, two weeks ago, the greenback hit its highest level in about a year. It beat a basket of other currencies in doing so, and once again showed strength against expectations. But was it a show of strength on the U.S. dollar’s part, or a show of weakness on the part of foreign currencies?

We’ve mentioned in the past that gold has been hitting all-time highs in currencies around the world heading up to 2019. Only when it comes to the greenback has its rise been slow, last year notwithstanding. And sure enough, checking the gold market’s price action in dollar denominations shows a familiar correlation: dollar up, gold down.

Dollar’s effect on gold’s price

Yet simple logic demonstrates that gold has little to worry about regarding dollar strength. With trillions of U.S. dollars printed last year, it’s questionable where that strength is coming from and how long it can persist.

Interestingly, despite the dollar’s relative strength recently, oil’s price has skyrocketed over the last few months. Americans notice at the gas pump when filling their tanks. However, oil price has much more far-reaching consequences than an extra $20 spent at the convenience store. Higher oil prices mean higher transportation prices, driving up costs of everything from fresh foods to imported manufactured goods.

Which leads us directly into the highest inflation in the last 30 years…

The Fed is losing control of inflation

The Federal Reserve has done nothing but downplay the threat of inflation so far. The PCE index, which monitors the prices of goods and services purchased by U.S. consumers, rose by 4.3% year-on-year in August. It was the ninth straight month of massively surging inflation, and the highest figure in the last 30 years.

It just so happens that the PCE index is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, which might explain why Fed Chair Jerome Powell voiced expectations of ongoing market disruptions, which are intrinsically tied to inflation, well into next year. Quite a statement for someone promising to embark on a major tightening program next month.

As just one example of the kind of damage that inflation is doing, home prices, as measured by the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, rose 19.7% in the year ended July 2021. Hearing that it’s the highest annual rise since 1987 is troubling. Learning that the index started in 1987 really puts this number into perspective.

The dollar’s role in determining gold’s price

One of the key points of Trump’s presidential tenure was an ongoing back-and-forth with the Federal Reserve over various things, with the greenback being near the top of the list. President Trump wanted a weaker dollar for trade purposes, often saying that China’s devaluation of the yuan is continuing to give the nation a trade advantage.

Holmes notes that while a strong dollar might sound good on paper, it’s actually harming U.S. exporters, and it’s doing so during a time when no nation can afford to have economic weakness.

How this plays out remains to be seen. And while we wait for gold to truly respond to any of these tailwinds, it’s good to remind ourselves just how liquid of an asset gold is during a time when cryptocurrencies are taking their place on the global market.

While Holmes often tells people that gold is the fourth most liquid asset, the latest World Gold Council data shows that it’s actually the second, coming only behind S&P 500 stocks. Its daily trading volume beats all commodities, government and corporate debt and even currency swaps. Even amid bouts of tepid price action, the gold market itself is as action-packed as they come.

Solar, EV Demand for Silver Will Drive Prices to High Triple Digits

Solar, EV Demand for Silver Will Drive Prices to High Triple Digits

Out of all the possible drivers that could push silver up into the sky, Keith Neumeyer, CEO of First Majestic Silver, thinks governmental policies might just be the thing. But instead of loose fiscal ones, it’s the tightening grip on gasoline vehicles that’s shaping up to be a massive driver. In an interview with Kitco, the CEO spoke about the changes in the automotive industry that are taking place, driven partially if not wholly by governments favoring electric vehicles (EVs) over carbon-dioxide-spewing internal combustion engines.

The view that engines of the latter are polluting the environment might have opposing sides in general terms, but it has swept governments around the world by storm. With countries like the U.S. and U.K. already preparing to ban sales of traditional vehicles, it does appear that an automotive revolution is underway. And it just so happens to be one that will heavily favor silver.

Neumeyer has always been extremely bullish on the metal, having previously forecast that it could hit triple digits in the long-term. Now, he sees silver going towards the higher end of that triple digit range due to basic supply and demand dynamics. Silver’s supply picture has always been a lackluster one, with the metal mostly coming in as a byproduct of mining other metals (copper, lead and zinc primarily). Only 28% of silver mines primarily produce silver. This means that silver miners are slower to respond to rises in spot price. They have to consider the costs and value of the other metals they’re digging up.

There’s a grassroots movement of physical silver investors who believe that the paper silver market is heavily manipulated, and that there is nowhere near enough silver to cover the contracts. Neumeyer gives this theory his backing without citing evidence.

Interestingly enough, while Neumeyer acknowledges that QE and U.S. dollar debasement will boost gold and drag silver along the way, he views these drivers as considerably less important. Instead, he is looking towards the amount of available silver against the prospect of ever-growing demand from the industrial side.

As Neumeyer noted, the mining industry currently produces 800 million silver a year, of which 100 million already go towards EV production and another 100 million towards solar panels. Combined, that makes up close to 20% of annual production. Neumeyer points out that the automotive industry currently produces 19 million cars a year, of which 5 million are EVs.

If the governments of the world get their way, every gasoline vehicle will be replaced with an EV within a decade or two. Neumeyer says that this amounts to roughly a billion cars, which obviously puts quite a strain on the automotive industry and therefore silver miners.

With 100 million ounces of silver needed for every 5 million EVs made, it’s clear that even a slight increase in EV demand could quickly shake up prices. It’s definitely looking to come together nicely with growing demand for physical silver among investors, many of whom are staunch believers that the price is being suppressed through derivatives and that it should indeed be closer to Neumeyer’s forecasts than its current levels. Given the silver shortages in various top mints around the world as of late, the theory is not an easy one to dismiss.

Buying Gold For “Portfolio Insurance” Could Be Lucrative

With all the parallels being drawn between the Vietnam war and the Afghanistan war, the tale of how gold plays into it is an interesting one. 1971 marked the full and official untethering of the U.S. dollar from gold and the beginning of a monetary experiment that works quite well until one looks under the hood.

But what really prompted President Nixon to make his infamous decision? As MoneyWeek’s Dominic Frisby notes, in August 1971, French president Pompidou sent his officials to New York to collect the nation’s expatriated gold, battleship and all. As the British informed Nixon that he should begin preparations, the President quickly realized that he can’t part with $3 billion of physical gold and finance a costly war with Vietnam. A concession had to be made, and between a sovereign and economic one, Nixon chose the latter.

The dollar was now untethered from gold, and the U.S. was free to print it and finance the war while eroding the greenback’s purchasing power to unimaginable levels. Perhaps most importantly, Frisby reminds us that Nixon portrayed the untethering as an extreme and temporary measure, one that would only be necessary until the war effort is over. This portrayal definitely served to cushion the impact of something that might otherwise seem unacceptable, just as in the case of quite a few other governmental interventions.

Now, 50 years later, we see that the government’s assurances don’t amount to much, and we’ve gleaned a few other things as well. Money is easy to print, but physical gold is hard to come by. Frisby notes that some gold investors might be disappointed by gold’s 15% drop from its high of $2,070. But that only really refers to spot price. An ounce of paper gold might go for its spot price, but those wanting to buy gold bullion might quickly find that the price has hardly changed since last August.

Gold owners and long-time bugs should also view gold’s lack of performance compared to stocks and other asset classes as a positive development. Wall Street instructs investors to hold 10% of their portfolio in gold and hope that it doesn’t go up. That’s because gold going up significantly means economic disaster as an optimistic scenario and a global crisis as a less pleasant one.

Yet gold is indeed going up. Over the last few weeks, it fell to $1,750 only to promptly climb back to its current level of above $1,815. Investors aren’t selling, which tells us that the outlook isn’t that great. Inflation is already here, and that it will only be temporary is yet another governmental assurance that could very well rank with the aforementioned ones. All of the drivers are in place for gold to continue its move up, and that’s not counting any black swan event during a time when everyone seems to be preparing for them.

Frisby sees room for gold to jump between 30% and 40% if trouble arises. In the meantime, gold investors should hold onto their well-performing insurance and hope that the next bout of gains comes from something mild such as a stock market crash, instead of global upheaval.

This Billionaire Says 25% of Your Money Should Be in Gold

This Billionaire Says 25 Percent of Your Money Should Be in Gold

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about a reassessment of portfolio theory and treating gold as a necessity, rather than an option. This came primarily as a result of the global bond market suffering a quiet collapse, with yields on most sovereign bonds falling to zero or dipping in negative territory. (Yields look even worse when you factor inflation into your calculations.) The Treasury, too, has been subject to the fall of the bond market with its ongoing all-time low showings.

Portfolio managers are indeed beginning to view gold as an alternative to bonds and accepting it as a necessary diversification. Even so, most investors remain underweight.

Prominent pundits like Frank Holmes, CEO of U.S. Global Investors, recommend a 10% allocation to gold to all investors. Many who aren’t keen on precious metals still view it as too high, despite what history has shown us.

Now there’s a voice saying that Holmes’s 10% gold allocation just isn’t good enough.

10% gold allocation might not be enough

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris finds this allocation all too low. In 2018, Sawiris revealed that he had allocated 50% of his $5.7 billion net worth into gold, along with a group called the Shareholders’ Gold Council. Sawiris has since lowered his gold allocation, perhaps to gather capital to start his recently-launched $1.4 billion gold mining fund.

Still, as he recently told CNBC, he recommends that all investors should keep their gold allocation between 20% and 30% of their total savings.

Here’s why Sawiris thinks more gold is better

Sawiris, like all gold investors, wants the safety that no other asset can provide. Last year’s pandemic has shown the extent, magnitude and quickness with which a crisis can hit, and it is one we are still very much in. In his interview with CNBC, Sawiris also spoke about the situation in Afghanistan, which has all the markings of something that could destabilize the entire Middle East.

While these particular comments weren’t tied to gold, there are already comparisons drawn between the Vietnam war and the Afghanistan war. It’s the kind of geopolitical turmoil that affects everyone involved and can cause severe disruptions, and precisely the kind of scenario that highlights the value of gold’s independence. After all, those Vietnamese refugees who held onto their physical precious metals found themselves on the most solid footing after fleeing.

Sawiris reiterated as much, saying that gold is something that has always been around and can be counted on to remain valuable. For the Western investor, gold is a safe haven providing peace of mind without worrying about stock, bond or fiat crashes or a crisis of any sorts. The greater the allocation, the lesser the worry, and the less dramatic the financial fallout when trouble arrives.

Sawiris said that he very much appreciates this safe-haven aspect of owning physical gold. In addition to the ongoing economic issues previously mentioned, he said today’s stock market might be worth keeping an eye on. Stock prices continue to barrel on despite record valuations in what is now by far the most decrepit bull run in history.

Gold Bullion and Coin Demand Just Keeps Rising: World Gold Council

Gold Bullion and Coin Demand Just Keeps Rising: World Gold Council
Photo by Zlaťáky.cz

As seen in the World Gold Council’s Gold Demand Trends report for 2021’s second quarter, gold managed to shed its losses from the first quarter and post an overall 4% price gain in Q2. Certain hawkish statements made by the Federal Reserve weren’t enough to balance inflation concerns, a weaker dollar and negative real interest rates.

Gold demand just keeps growing

Gold demand intensified on all fronts, including a somewhat surprising return by funds after their massive outflows in the first quarter. While the report states that there is still room for improvement in terms of jewelry demand, consumer purchases have nonetheless posted a considerable recovery, especially as economic conditions remain sluggish in many areas of the world.

Overall, jewelry demand in Q2 totaled 390.7 tons, a 60% year-on-year increase. The biggest buyer was China, whose 146.9 tons amounted to a 62% year-on-year increase. Chinese consumers purchased 338 tons of gold in the first six months of 2021, a 122% year-on-year increase. Remarkably, the figure is also 6% higher than the amount of jewelry purchased in the country in first half of 2019. Despite economic woes, India posted a 25% year-on-year increase in jewelry purchases, with similar rises happening across most of the Middle East.

Western jewelers also had a notable showing, with 37.7 tons of jewelry demand in Q2 2021 marking the strongest showing for the quarter since 2007. Investment demand in the U.S. was another important point, with retail investors buying 30 tons in the second quarter. The amount of gold bought in the first half of 2021 was brought to a record 61.7 tons. Chinese retailers and individual investors made the most of lower premiums and a stronger economy, buying 57.3 tons of gold in Q2. This represented a 41% year-on-year increase and a 16% increase over the second quarter of 2019.

Worldwide demand for gold bars saw an 18% year-on-year increase, while gold coin demand rose by 7% compared to the same quarter last year. And not all of the buyers were private investors.

Central bank gold buying significantly higher

Central banks posted their third consecutive quarter of net buying despite many instances of nations resorting to selling. Demand from the official sector was all the more notable due to the diversity of buyers, with Thailand purchasing 90.2 tons of gold in the first half of the year. It was joined by many other relative newcomers, such as Hungary which bought 62.09 tons of gold during the same period and Uzbekistan with purchases amounting to 25.50 tons.

The overall 214% year-on-year increase in central bank purchases was conspicuous, but perhaps expected given the conditions of last year.

Industrial demand for gold rising, too

Despite disruptions in the technological sector, gold demand was still strong across the board, with an overall 18% year-on-year increase of 80 tons bought during the second quarter. Electronics demand rose the most, 16%, while dentistry recorded its first year-on-year increase in 17 years with 12%.

Other industrial demand rose from 8.3 tons in Q1 to 10.8 tons in Q2, a 31% year-on-year increase.

Gold Rises on Inflation, Exhaustion of Stock Market Optimism, and This

Gold Rises on Exhaustion of Stock Market Optimism, Fears of Inflation, and This
Photo by Sabrinna Ringquist

Sentiment from both Wall Street and Main Street has gotten progressively more bullish on gold over the past few weeks, and with good reason. Gold has now posted its third straight week of gains and appears to be looking for another resistance level to breach.

The metal’s move past, and stay above, the important $1,800 level has been in focus for many. Friday’s trading session had it inching towards $1,830 before closing the day above $1,810 in yet another example of bullish action that has been on full display for nearly a month.

Gold may drop before it launches much higher: Newton Advisors

Newton Advisors’ founder Mark Newton says that, from a broader standpoint, gold’s price could experience another significant dip below $1,750 that would let investors get in on the action. Newton told CNBC that this is because June and July are traditionally the weakest months for gold in a year, making the latest run all the more impressive.

Regardless of whether gold experiences such a pullback, Newton says $1,855 is the next level to watch out for and that breaking it will most likely have gold pushing towards new highs. The gains over the past weeks came in good part over doubts that the global economy will recover as some optimistic forecasts are claiming.

Inflation is only the second most-important issue: Mobius Capital Partners

It can also be interpreted as an exhaustion of optimism in the more risk-on markets, a stance that was very much prominent heading up to June. Seasoned investor and co-founder of Mobius Capital Partners Mark Mobius believes that the narrow focus on inflation has actually sidelined a much bigger problem.

As investors and people worry about prices of goods and services rising, many of them forget that the true cause of this is currency devaluation, said Mobius in a recent interview. Mobius is one of a number of prominent experts who doubt in the accuracy or even altogether relevancy of the CPI as an inflation gauge.

While the CPI rose this year at its fastest pace since 2008, Mobius says that it leaves too many factors out and that prices are actually rising much more rapidly. The spike in prices, says Mobius, is the result of a currency losing its value, as has unfortunately been the case throughout history. This is why companies treat any spike in inflation as currency debasement, and why gold is likely to come into prominence as a store of wealth over the coming months.

Mobius’ comments over currency devaluation come during a time when the U.S. dollar faces some of the biggest threats to its status in a long time, partly due to money printing and balance sheet expansion and partly due to a broader loss of faith in fiat. In general, Mobius expects gold to continue moving up along with inflation, especially since central banks are actively targeting it instead of attempting to deflate their currencies as part of standard policy.

Wall Street, Main Street Bullish on Gold

Wall Street sentiment regarding gold’s price trajectory is shifting to the upside in considerable fashion, joining the already-optimistic Main Street traders. The Kitco gold price survey from last week showed 69.2% of Wall Street analysts surveyed expecting prices to move higher this week. No bearish votes were cast, with the remaining 30.8% predicted a neutral or sideways-only price movement.

Main Street was a bit more evenly spread, though still heavily favoring the upside. Nearly half of retail investors surveyed (49.6%) forecast higher prices this week, while 25.8% were bearish and 24.6% were neutral.

Despite little price action last week, analysts generally agree that a move to the $1,750 support level will be met with a strong correction, while a breach of the $1,800 level will continue to establish new highs for the metal.

Specific analyst commentary on gold in the short term

Marc Chandler, managing director at Global Forex, views a scenario where gold touches $1,750 before bouncing to the $1,800-1,815 range this week as the likeliest.

Kitco’s senior analyst Jim Wyckoff also finds the range important, noting that a move above $1,800 would set the trend for prices to go higher.

RJO Futures senior commodities broker Daniel Pavilonis is especially focused on a close above the $1,820 level. If it happens, Pavilonis thinks the market could be in for some explosive price action. Besides gold finding consistent support above the 200-day moving average, Pavilonis also said that the latest bout of strength in the U.S. dollar appears to be exhausting.

Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, is also notably bullish on gold. Cieszynski pointed to strong technicals as a reason to believe that gold might be getting ready to break out from the aforementioned range and continue moving up.

How is recent news affecting gold?

In general, the lack of any notable rise in gold price has been attributed to mixed signals from the Federal Reserve and corresponding data. The dollar continues to hold ground amid both peak inflationary expectations and rising inflation across the board. The latest data reports were likewise a mixed bag, with better-than-expected U.S. non-farm payrolls being met with a rise in unemployment.

The data still fell short of optimistic forecasts, however, and both Treasury yields and the greenback fell after the report. Analysts also noted that a lower trading volume on Monday due to the 4th of July holiday in the U.S. could result in some additional delays before gold finds a spot above $1,800.

Short-term vs. long-term views

Although analysts do enjoy attempts to predict the future, if you don’t work in the financial news industry, you’re probably better off keeping your eye on the horizon. When you look at gold’s performance over time, that’s when it really begins to shine.

Buy the Dip While Panic Selling in Gold Lasts

Buy the Dip While Panic Selling in Gold Lasts

Gold has always been prone to bearish Wall Street sentiment and investor overreactions, and this was perhaps on full display after the latest Federal Reserve meeting. Optimistic GDP forecasts and hints at interest rate hikes in 2023 and onwards sent gold tumbling to a two-month low, with weekly losses above 5% percent. Yet, as usual, the drivers of the move downwards are questionable at best.

Adrian Day, president of Adrian Day Asset Management, said that the Fed meeting was actually bullish for gold upon closer inspection. He expects prices to bounce back in the short-term. Day notes that the Fed chair essentially said the government wants to rein in its loose monetary policy, but doesn’t have a way of doing it. This is clearly demonstrated by their inability to hike rates for at least two more years.

Day believes a lot of the selling was automated on some level and that investors will soon return to their previous bullish outlook.

Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, said that markets were looking for an excuse to rebalance from technically overbought gold and oversold U.S. dollar, and that the Fed meeting was just that.

Cieszynski said that it wasn’t so much the Fed’s projections that caused the pullback, but rather the signal that officials are looking for a way to tighten monetary policy. While the statement alone was enough to send the markets selling, Day is among the numerous experts who don’t see any feasible way for the Fed to either tighten its monetary policy or subdue inflation.

The latter has been an especially prominent talking point as of late, with core and consumer inflation rising at their fastest pace in over a decade and consensus forecasts that more inflation is coming. Phillip Streible, chief investment strategist at Blue Line Futures, said that his firm has been waiting for an opportunity to buy gold.

Streible said his company has already started buying the dip, noting that they are positioning themselves for higher inflation accompanied by weaker-than-expected growth later in the year.

Last week’s Kitco News Weekly Gold Survey of 18 Wall Street analysts showed that 56% were bearish on gold in the short-term, with bullish and neutral sentiment tied with 22% votes for each. A Main Street poll with 2,174 respondents showed considerably more optimistic sentiment, with 52% of voters expecting gold to bounce back this week, 31% expecting additional pullbacks and 17% voting neutral.