Solid Resources, a Canada based Mining and Exploration Company set up its infrastructure in Peru to develop mining interests, particularly focusing on Gold and Silver.
Peru has a mining culture that pre-dates European colonization. Today, Peru is seen as a country with immense mining potential. Walk the Andes and you can literally see the veins. There are producing and development opportunities present in Peru, not seen in Canada, US or Australia since the 1940’s. Most, if not all, of the major producing mining companies have a presence. Peru Silver production is #1 in the world and Peru Gold production is # 5th in the world.
Demand for gold is expected to be strong during 2010, driven by growing demand for jewellery in China and India as well as an increase in European and US investment in the context of continued economic instability, sovereign risk and the threat of a 'double dip' recession. Demand in India and China will continue to grow, driven by jewellery demand, in spite of high local currency gold prices. In Q1 2010, India was the strongest performing market as total consumer demand surged 698% to 193.5 tonnes. In China, demand proved resilient; demand increased 11% in Q1 2010 to 105.2 tonnes. This strong demand is despite high local gold prices, which on May 12 in India increased to Rs 56,032/0z, the highest level for the year, while at the same time in China prices reached an all-time high of RMB8,480/oz, suggesting that consumers in India and China are becoming accustomed to higher gold prices. Concerns over Greece's public finances and debt contagion fears in Europe have led to strong buying in particular for gold coins, bars and gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) during May which may show up in the Q2 2010 figures. While momentum in ETF tonnage paused during Q1 2010, gold ETF flows started to rise strongly again in April and May as investors sought less volatile investments in which to protect their funds against economic turmoil.
Demand for gold is widely spread around the world. East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East accounted for 70% of world demand in 2008. 55% of demand is attributable to just five countries - India, Italy, Turkey, USA and China, each market driven by a different set of socio-economic and cultural factors. Rapid demographic and other socio-economic changes in many of the key consuming nations are also likely to produce new patterns of demand.
Jewellery consistently accounts for over two-thirds of gold demand. In the 12 months to December 2008, this amounted to around US$61 billion, making jewellery one of the world's largest categories of consumer goods. In terms of retail value, the USA is the largest market for gold jewellery, whereas India is the largest consumer in volume terms, accounting for 24% of demand in 2008. Indian gold demand is supported by cultural and religious traditions which are not directly linked to global economic trends. For more on the role of gold in India >> It should be noted, however, that the economic crisis and the consequent recessionary pressures that developed over 2007 and 2008 had a significant negative impact on consumer spending and this, in turn, resulted in the reduced volume of jewellery sales, particularly in western markets. Generally, jewellery demand is driven by a combination of affordability and desirability by consumers, and tends to rise during periods of price stability or gradually rising prices, and declines in periods of price volatility. A steadily rising price reinforces the inherent value of gold jewellery, which is an intrinsic part of its desirability. Jewellery consumption in the developing markets was, until fairly recently, expanding quite rapidly following a period of sustained decline, although recent economic distress may have stalled this growth. But several countries, including China, still offer clear and considerable potential for future growth in demand.
Because a significant portion of investment demand is transacted in the over-the-counter market, it is not easily measurable. However, there is no doubt that identifiable investment demand in gold has increased considerably in recent years. Since 2003 investment has represented the strongest source of growth in demand, with an increase in the last five years in value terms to the end of 2008 of around 412%. Investment attracted net inflows of approximately US$32bn in 2008. There are a wide range of reasons and motivations for people and institutions seeking to invest in gold. And, clearly, a positive price outlook, underpinned by expectations that the growth in demand for the precious metal will continue to outstrip that of supply, provides a solid rationale for investment. Of the other key drivers of investment demand, one common thread can be identified: all are rooted in gold's abilities to insure against uncertainty and instability and protect against risk. Gold investment can take many forms, and some investors may choose to combine two or more of these for flexibility. The distinction between buying physical gold and gaining exposure to movements in the gold price is not always clear, especially since it is possible to invest in bullion without actually taking physical delivery. The growth in investment demand has been mirrored by corresponding developments in ways to invest and there are now a wide variety of investment products to suit both the private and institutional investor.
Industrial, medical and dental uses account for around 11% of gold demand (an annual average of over 440 tonnes from 2004 to 2008). Gold's high thermal and electrical conductivity, and its outstanding resistance to corrosion, explain why over half of all industrial demand arises from its use in electrical components. Gold's use in medical applications has a long history and today, various biomedical applications make use of its bio-compatibility, resistance to bacterial colonization and corrosion, and other attributes. Recent research has uncovered a number of new practical uses for gold, including its use as a catalyst in fuel cells, chemical processing and controlling pollution. The potential to use nanoparticles of gold in advanced electronics, glazing coatings, and cancer treatments are all exciting areas of scientific research.
Gold is produced from mines on every continent except Antarctica, where mining is forbidden. Operations range from the tiny to the enormous and there are several hundred operating gold mines worldwide (excluding mining at the very small-scale, artisanal and often 'unofficial' level). Today, the overall level of global mine production is relatively stable, averaging approximately 2,485 tonnes per year over the last five years. New mines that are being developed are serving to replace current production, rather than to cause any significant expansion in the global total. The comparatively long lead times in gold production, with new mines often taking up to 10 years to come on stream, mean mining output is relatively inelastic and unable to react quickly to a change in price outlook. The incentives promised by a sustained price rally, as experienced by gold over the last seven years, are not therefore easily or rapidly translated into increased production.
Central banks and supranational organisations (such as the International Monetary Fund) currently hold just under one-fifth of global above-ground stocks of gold as reserve assets (amounting to around 29,600 tonnes, dispersed across 110 organisations). On average, governments hold around 10% of their official reserves as gold, although the proportion varies country-by-country. Although a number of central banks have increased their gold reserves in the past decade, the sector as a whole has typically been a net seller since 1989, contributing an average of 447 tonnes to annual supply flows between 2004 and 2008. Since 1999, the bulk of these sales have been regulated by the Central Bank Gold Agreement/CBGAs (which have stabilised sales from 15 of the world's biggest holders of gold). Significantly, gold sales from official sector sources have been diminishing in recent years. Net central bank sales amounted to just 246 tonnes in 2008.
The process of producing gold can be divided into six main phases: finding the ore body; creating access to the ore body; removing the ore by mining or breaking the ore body; transporting the broken material from the mining face to the plants for treatment; processing; and refining. This basic process applies to both underground and surface operations. The world's principal gold refineries are based near major mining centres, or at major precious metals processing centres worldwide. In terms of capacity, the largest is the Rand Refinery in Germiston, South Africa. In terms of output, the largest is the Johnson Matthey refinery in Salt Lake City, US. Rather than buying the gold and then selling it onto the market later, the refiner typically takes a fee from the miner. Once refined, the bullion bars (with a purity of 99.5% or higher) are sold to bullion dealers who, in turn, trade with jewellery or electronics manufacturers or investors. The role of the bullion market at the heart of the supply-demand cycle - instead of large bilateral contracts between miner and fabricator - facilitates the free flow of metal and underpins the free market mechanism.
Gold and Inflation
The value of gold, in terms of the real goods and services that it can buy, has remained largely stable for many years. In 1900, the gold price was $20.67/oz, which equates to about $503/oz in today's prices. In the five years to end-December 2008, the price of gold averaged around $606. So the real price of gold has endured a century characterised by sweeping change and repeated geopolitical shocks and more than retained its purchasing power. In contrast, the real value of most currencies has generally declined. Investors in gold can point to a growing body of research supporting gold's reputation as a protector of wealth against the ravages of inflation. Market cycles come and go, but extensive research from a range of economists has demonstrated that, over the long term, through both inflationary and deflationary periods, gold has consistently maintained its purchasing power. In the short run, experience has shown that gold can deviate from its long-run inflation-hedge price, and, when enjoying a sustained buoyant period, as is currently the case, can offer opportunities for impressive returns.
Gold and the Dollar
Gold has long been regarded by investors as a good protection against depreciation in a currency's value, both internally (i.e. against inflation) and externally (against other currencies). In the latter case, gold is widely considered to be a particularly effective hedge against fluctuations in the US dollar, the world's main trading currency. While this has been widely believed for many years, it did not, until relatively recently, have formal statistical support. But research in 2004, examining the relationship betwen the gold price and the exchange rate of various currencies against the US dollar from 1971 to June 2002, provided firm evidence of gold's effectiveness as a dollar hedge. The gold price was found to be negatively correlated with the US dollar and this relationship appeared to be consistent over time and across exchange rates. The research established that despite this period (1971-2002) being one of considerable economic turbulence, gold was, throughout, a consistently good protection against this instability and the exchange rate fluctuations it caused. Another more recent study by the metals consultancy GFMS Ltd. examined the strength of the link between 22 commodities and the US dollar. The results clearly suggested that gold is not only a more potent hedge against the US dollar than other commodities, but also that it provides protection when most needed (when the dollar is losing value), with relatively little loss of upside during a period of dollar appreciation.
Gold does not carry a Credit Risk
Financial instruments usually carry three main types of risk. Credit risk: the risk that a debtor will not pay Liquidity risk: the risk that the asset cannot be sold as a buyer cannot be found. Market risk: the risk that the price will fall due to a change in market conditions. Gold is unique in that it does not carry a credit risk. Gold is no one's liability. There is no risk that a coupon or a redemption payment will not be made, as for a bond, or that a company will go out of business, as for an equity. And unlike a currency, the value of gold cannot be affected by the economic policies of the issuing country or undermined by inflation in that country. At the same time, 24-hour trading, a wide range of buyers - from the jewellery sector to financial institutions to manufacturers of industrial products - and the wide range of investment channels available, including coins and bars, jewellery, futures and options, exchange-traded funds, certificates and structured products, make liquidity risk very low. The gold market is deep and liquid, as demonstrated by the fact that gold can be traded at narrower spreads and more rapidly than many competing diversifiers or even mainstream investments. Gold is of course subject to market risk, as is clear from the experience of the 1980s when the gold price declined sharply. But many of the downside risks associated with the gold price are very different to the risks associated with other assets, a factor which enhances gold's attractiveness as a portfolio diversifier. For example, should a central bank announce its intention to engage in substantial sales of gold, as happened prior to the Central Bank Gold Agreement in 1999, this would be unlikely to have an impact on equity returns but could reasonably be expected to affect the gold price in the short run. Similarly, the specific risks to which bonds and equities are exposed, including pressure on the health of the government and corporate sector during an economic downturn, are not shared by gold. One measure of market risk is volatility, which measures the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. The more volatile an asset, usually the riskier it is. The gold price is typically less volatile than other commodity prices. This is because of the depth and liquidity of the gold market, which are supported by the availability of large above-ground stocks of gold. Because gold is virtually indestructible, nearly all of the gold which has ever been mined still exists, much of it in near market form. This means that sudden excess demand for gold can usually be satisfied with relative ease. And, unlike many other commodities such as, for example, oil or platinum, the geographical diversity of modern mine production further reduces the chances of supply shocks from any specific country or region having an undue impact on the price. As a consequence, gold is generally slightly less volatile than heavily traded blue-chip stock market indices such as the FTSE 100 or the S&P 500.