http://bit.ly/1cQq3w9 The gold mining sector is braced for asset writedowns and a fall in the amount of reserves in the ground after the precipitous drop in the price of the metal this year.
Some of the world’s largest gold miners face having to tell investors that their growth has gone into reverse because the falling price has made it uneconomic to mine some of the areas previously classed as reserves.
Miners’ reserves are vital to their prospects and valuations, since companies would quickly shrink if they did not replace what they dug from the ground each year. Rising price expectations have until now helped gold miners be more optimistic about their reserves and to include ounces that they would previously not have been able to mine profitably.
“Gold has been going up for 12 of the last 13 years and reserves have gone up with the price. This  is definitely the year we will see reserves falling across much of the sector,” said Jorge Beristain, an analyst with Deutsche Bank. “Reserve calculations have been based on a series of suppositions that in the present environment are no longer tenable.”
Gold miners including Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining, the world’s largest by ounces of annual production, have had a difficult year in 2013 because of the effect of the gold price on some of their most important projects.
Miners usually update their reserve statements early each year, and do not all assume the same price. Barrick’s last reserve stateme...