News agencies report GATA''s drive for answers


9:30p EST Monday, January 17, 2000

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Here's a story from the London Evening Standard from a
few days ago. It's about how Normandy Mining and its
chief executive, Robert Champion de Crespigny, view the
gold market, but you may find it most interesting for
its trace of the hand of bullion dealer Goldman Sachs,
which, if I read this right, may have offered Normandy
the same sort of financial terms that Ashanti Gold
accepted so unfortunately. Happily, Normandy seems to
have wisely declined Goldman Sachs' most devastating

Please post this as seems useful.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

* * *

Australian Mining Firm
Has Positive Outlook on Gold

London Evening Standard
January 13, 2000

London -- Central bank sales sent the gold price
on a roller-coaster ride last year, nearly bankrupting
at least one producer along the way, but Australia's
Normandy Mining sees a stable and profitable outlook
for the precious metal this year.

Adelaide-based Normandy is the country's biggest gold
producer at about 1.9 million ounces a year, and chief
executive Robert Champion de Crespigny says it is on
course to beat the record A$123 million (UKpound 49
million) profit it posted in 1997. "The basic
fundamentals of this industry are extremely strong," he
says. "The demand is nearly twice the supply. In rough
terms, there are 4500 tonnes consumed each year,
predominantly jewellery, and the industry produces 2500

Normandy's hedge book has seen it withstand the
volatile price, which plumbed a 20-year low of $251 an
ounce in August, only to hit $338 after the strong
reaction to the early Bank of England auctions. The
price has now settled at around $280 an ounce.

London-listed Ghanaian producer Ashanti was the most
high-profile casualty of the fluctuations, going to the
brink of bankruptcy -- ironically because of the higher
prices. The crisis is still causing it problems,
forcing the sale of half of its prize Tanzanian assets.
The company also faces a shareholder revolt, with a
disgruntled former director leading a push to sack the

Ashanti's problems stemmed from derivative products
known as exotics, bought from its advisers, investment
bank Goldman Sachs. The company took a position,
wrongly expecting a lower gold price, and suddenly
faced a $570 million black hole in its hedge book,
which gave its bankers the right to make margin calls.

"Goldman Sachs come to us too and put proposals,
and sometimes we accept them and sometimes we don't,"
says de Crespigny. "I don't blame them for what
happened to Ashanti. Everyone can run their company how
they like, it's a management decision. "I think one of
the key issues on this is whether people who are
getting into these exotics are getting too far away
from their core business. Every now and then you wonder
if some companies are derivative mining companies,
rather than just gold miners."

On central bank sales, de Crespigny sees a return to
sanity and stability this year which, combined with his
assessment of a weakening US economy, augurs well for
the gold price.