The gold price is having its best run in decades but the Australian Gold Council is imploding, with the major miners
refusing to continue funding the industry lobby and promotion body.

In a letter to AGC members, CEO Michael
O’Neil blames rationalisation of the industry as the majors’ excuse for pulling
the plug.

The immediate outcome has been the
scrapping of the AGC’s annual Gold Forum, dinner and annual awards in Perth on 1 May –
there’s obviously not much for the AGC to celebrate.

Despite being one of the world’s great gold
producers, there’s only one large Australian gold miner left – Newcrest – and
it’s having problems of its own with the performance of its Telfer mine. There’s
a reasonably healthy middle order and the gold price has sparked more action
among the juniors, but the industry has also suffered the collapse of Sons of
Gwalia and the present troubles of
Croesus. (As the West Australian reports, Croesus seems to be in the unenviable position of dealing with
Macquarie Bank as its counter party in hedge deals that have come seriously
unstuck as the miner simply hasn’t been producing enough of the yellow metal.)

If anyone had thought the AGC website had been rather inactive of late, they now
know why.

Disclosure: Michael Pascoe has been
employed to facilitate forums for the AGC.

Peter Fray

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