Top-performing gold miner readies warchest in bust industry


By Thomas Biesheuvel
Bloomberg News
Friday, November 21, 2014

LONDON -- The gold industry is a "busted flush," said Mark Bristow, surveying the ruin wrought by a 38 percent slump in the bullion price from a 2011 peak. For the Randgold Resources Ltd. chief executive officer, that's an opportunity.

"This is an exciting time," Bristow said in an interview at his London office near the Savoy Hotel. "The industry blows its brains out every time. The reason we're still in the industry is because the competition isn't that sharp."

The world's biggest gold miners racked up $30 billion of debt during a 12-year-bull run for the precious metal that spurred acquisitions and new mines. That has become a millstone as costs escalate and gold tumbled from a record $1,921.17 an ounce in September 2011 to $1,189.62 in London today.

Randgold, the best performing gold miner in the past decade, is debt free and profitable at current gold prices, said Bristow, who has a war chest of $500 million to $700 million to acquire assets from floundering rivals. ...

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