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Gold price suppression ever more obvious, Sinclair says
(company press release)
VANCOUVER, April 1 -- Placer Dome Inc. announced today
that it reduced the committed ounces under its hedge program
by 1.1 million during the first quarter.
In its 2002 year-end results, released February 19, 2003,
Placer Dome outlined its plans to integrate the AurionGold
hedge book and reduce its committed ounces in keeping
with the company's strategy. During the first quarter, Placer
Dome effectively converted 920,000 ounces committed
under forward sales for the years 2004 through 2006 to put
options through the purchase of offsetting call options at a
cost of $9.4 million, or approximately $10 per ounce.
An additional 170,000 ounces were reduced by delivering
into existing contracts.
As of March 31, 2003 Placer Dome's maximum committed
ounces totalled 11.5 million, or 22 percent of gold reserves,
at an average expected realized price of $380/oz. The
company's hedge program has a positive mark-to-market
value of $113 million as of March 31.
For 2003, the company will not incur an opportunity cost on
its hedge program unless gold averages above $375/oz.
Looking forward, Placer Dome expects to reduce its
committed ounces to below 10 million by December 31,
2003. This would represent a cumulative decrease in
committed ounces of more than 20 percent for the year.
According to Placer Dome Executive Vice-President
and CFO Rex McLennan: quot;We are moving quickly to
simplify and reduce the hedge position that increased
as a result of the AurionGold acquisition. More than 75
percent of our production in 2003 remains fully leveraged
to a rising gold price. We have now brought our 2004-2006
committed ounces more in line with our financial strategy
and we will continue to reduce our commitments further.quot;