SOUTH AFRICAN GOLD AVAILABLITY REVISITED, 2004 AND 2009
Hi! My name is Edward H. Boyle, Jr. I was co-author of U.S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular (IC) 9070 (“Gold Availability – World”), published in 1986, and author of the South Africa and United States chapters in the Bureau's Special Publication (SP) 24-94 (“World Gold”), published in 1994. The first study was conducted from late 1981 to late 1983 and the second from late 1991 to my resignation from the Bureau in late 1994.
In late 2002, as a private citizen, I became interested in comparing the annual gold production projections made in these two studies to actual South African gold production values. I was particularly interested because South Africa's gold production had decreased significantly since 1994. As I investigated further, I became aware of major changes in the South African gold mining industry and new factors involved in the gold markets...a sad story that no one seemed interested in telling at that time. In short, the large sales of gold by the Central Banks of the world were erasing South African gold production on nearly a 1:1 basis, killing the industry.
As a result of the 2003/2004 investigation, I self-published a booklet entitled “South African Gold Availability Revisited, 2004-- A 23 Year Perspective”. I also established this website (www.goldavailability.com) in November of 2004 to promote the booklet and, more importantly, raise the public's awareness of what the Central Bank sales (and other actions by the Wall Street/D.C. financial “mafia”) were doing to the South African gold mining industry.
In four and a half years of existence, the website has had nearly 4,000 visitors from over 30 different countries. Interestingly, nearly a third of the site visits occurred within the first 12 months of existence (November 2004 through October 2005). Sales of the booklet, however, were miniscule. Obviously, the potential internet audience prefers free information. For that reason, the updated 2009 data, tables and analysis will now be accessible by anyone from the pages of this website itself.
Since 2003, the last data year of my 2004 analysis, the annual average price of gold has increased an impressive 140 percent (from $363/tr oz for 2003 to $872/tr oz for 2008). Despite that, South Africa's gold production has decreased a further 41.3 percent (from 376 mt in 2003 to only 220 mt in 2008). In 2007, the country supposedly lost it's typical position as number one producing country to, of all countries, China. I use the term “supposedly” because of my skepticism about production statistics from a country with a lot of small producers, especially ex-centrally planned economy countries.
I am a firm believer that history is an important teacher and that we cannot know where we are headed unless we first know where we have been. For those reasons, I have compiled, analyzed and presented a 28 year overview of the South African gold mining industry here. It is not a pretty picture...like watching a train wreck. And it didn't have to happen either, except that the same people who have introduced you to the term “toxic assets” were the same switchmen in this train wreck too. At least I have the story down “in black and white” now..so that others will not forget. Any comments or questions can be directed to me at: email@example.com. The presentation on this website is divided into eight sections. They are:
South African Gold Production and Annual Average Gold Prices (in actual and constant 1983 U.S. Dollars), 1981-2008.
Central Bank Gold Sales and U.S. Dollar Influences, 1981-2008.
Comparison, Actual South African Production to Projections of 1986 and 1994 Studies.
Exchange Rates and Inflation Rates, 1981-2008.
Compilation of Actual Production Data and "Working Costs" From 2003, 2007 and 2008 Annual Reports.
Reserve and Resource Picture, 2003 and 2008.
Motivation, Background and Opinions on the 1998-2002 "Price Bust" and the Future of South African Gold Mining.
Observations on World Production and Gold Price History, 1966-2008.
UNITS OF MEASURE (ABBREVIATIONS), CONVERSION FACTORS AND SYMBOLS
1 kilogram (kg) = 1,000 grams (g) =32.1507 troy ounces (tr oz)
1 metric ton (mt) = 1,000 kilograms (kg) = 32,150.7 troy ounces (tr oz) = 2,204.6 pounds
1 troy ounce (tr oz) = 31.1035 grams (g)
DCFROR = discounted cash flow rate of return
mtpy = metric tons per year
% = percent (pct)
R = South African rand, monetary unit of South Africa
$ = U.S. Dollar, monetary unit of the United States
Au = periodic table symbol for gold