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PDAC 2014: Digital investment poised to transform mining sector, survey shows

Financial Post | Business

Miners are starting to spend big bucks on digital technology that could boost productivity and transform the old ways of doing business in this industry, according to a new survey from Accenture.

Mining is different from many businesses in that a lot of the core exploration, mining and processing technologies have not changed in literally decades. And yet the trade show at the PDAC conference is full of various entrepreneurs showing off devices and processes that they claim are revolutionizing how quickly and efficiently things can be done, whether it be analyzing drill results or locating employees underground.

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Digital technology is now being implemented at a rapid rate. In the survey of 40 medium and large mining companies, one quarter of executives said their digital investment has doubled or more over the last three years. Nearly all of them said they will boost their digital investment over the…

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Mining mergers and acquisitions expected to pick up

Informa Insights

John Gravelle John Gravelle

Following a torrid year for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the mining industry, deal activity in the sector is predicted to rise once again, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

PwC expects mining activity to recover this year as developed economies stabilise and mining companies take a more strategic approach to adding assets.

John Gravelle, global mining leader at PwC, said that the historically low level of M&A deals last year meant mining companies have had to turn to new strategies to survive.

“Many companies looking to buy are eyeing similar commodities in familiar regions where they are already operating,” he explained.

“While overall, the mining sector has experienced short-term pain for what could be longer-term gain. To once again create shareholder value and extend mine life, miners will need to continue to acquire assets.”

In its report, the consulting group highlighted some of the…

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Miners rebound as gold prices ride hot streak

Financial Post | Business

The price of gold and the stocks of the companies that mine it have been on a hot streak this year.

Bullion has rallied about 10% since the start of the year to US$1,322.90 an ounce, a nice rebound following a crushing 2013 that saw prices fall 28% — their first decline in 12 years and the worst loss since the 1980s. The S&P/TSX Global Gold Index, which holds 37 gold exploration and mining names, has also joined in on the party, climbing 26.8% since Dec. 31.

The performance of gold stocks is notable because they are posting better returns than the precious metal itself for one of the few times in the past decade.

Gold stocks have underperformed bullion for seven straight years, mainly due to rising costs, lower margins and the introduction of new exchange-traded products that have made investing in physical gold easier.

There’s no doubt gold…

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