Surviving “hot” jurisdictions, diseases like malaria, and disastrous helicopter crashes are just part of why being in gold mining and exploration is so difficult. Grant Williams talks to Ross Beaty and a host of other mining experts to better understand the challenges gold miners face finding, mining, and refining the yellow metal. This video is excerpted from a piece published on Real Vision on January 26, 2018 entitled “Gold: The Story of Man’s 6000 Year Obsession - Episode 1.”
Watch more Real Vision™ videos: http://po.st/RealVisionVideos
Subscribe to Real Vision™ on YouTube: http://po.st/RealVisionSubscribe
Watch more by starting your 14-day free trial here: https://rvtv.io/31Jlmqt
A collection of interviews and documentaries focusing in on the famous store of value. The series takes a 360-degree view of the precious metal by examining gold's role in history and its proper place in modern investment portfolios. It interviews experts in diverse fields including mining, investment management and bullion storage.
About Real Vision™:
Real Vision™ is the destination for the world’s most successful investors to share their thoughts about what’s happening in today's markets. Think: TED Talks for Finance. On Real Vision™ you get exclusive access to watch the most successful investors, hedge fund managers and traders who share their frank and in-depth investment insights with no agenda, hype or bias. Make smart investment decisions and grow your portfolio with original content brought to you by the biggest names in finance, who get to say what they really think on Real Vision™.
Connect with Real Vision™ Online:
The Challenges to Gold Exploration and Extraction (W/ Grant Williams and Ross Beaty)
For the full transcript visit: https://www.realvision.com/tv/shows/gold/videos/the-challenges-to-gold-exploration-and-extraction
GRANT WILLIAMS: The fact that a lump of yellow metal can command a price of over $1,000 an ounce is a source of mystery to many people. But when you look at the cost of exploration as well as the cost of the labor and energy which goes into extracting from the ground to say nothing of the taxes and the regulatory burden it becomes much simpler to understand gold's value
But there is a point at which every deposit in the world becomes uneconomical to mine when that point is reached the decisions that have to might have far reaching consequences.
ROSS BEATY: So there's an expression-- mines die hard. They really are hard to kill. And they are hard to kill because when you have a mine that let's just say is losing money, that's an economic reason to close a mine, you might have 1,000 people whose livelihoods depend on running that mine.
If it's an underground mine, you have a lot of maintenance costs to keep that in mind going. If you close, you have to dewater it constantly. You have to keep the power on. You have a lot of equipment you have to maintain. An open pit mine, you can do less expensively, but it still does have care of maintenance costs. And sometimes, those care of maintenances costs are way higher than running the mine at a loss for a period of time.
So mines die hard. It takes a long time to close a mine. And most companies will end up losing money for a long time before they bite the bullet and say, this is hopeless. Miners are very optimistic people as a rule. We're born optimists, otherwise we wouldn't be in this business.
GRANT WILLIAMS: While it may be true that every miner is a born optimist, this optimism and this willingness to go to dangerous places in search of untold riches is certainly not without its dark side.
ROSS BEATY: I mean, I've had cerebral malaria. I've had toxoplasmosis, various parasites that almost killed me. I've had helicopter crashes. I was in a plane crash that destroyed the plane, I had to climb out the window. I've fallen in crevasses. I've been in riots. I almost was killed in Liberia-- in a riot in Liberia. I've been tear gassed in Bolivia god knows how many times.
And of course, you know the real carnage is and the expiration is? It's cars. It's bad roads in bad places, and people get it in accidents in cars. And so how many geologists that I know and actually have worked with in my company who have died in car crashes, I can count them on two hands, which is a lot.
Three guys from my class have been shot in hot places. Two of them were shot getting out of a helicopter in the Philippines in Mindanao. And one was killed in South America in a-- by bad guys. It's a very dangerous business. But I love it so much that I embrace that kind of risk. And it's worked for me, and I'm still alive. And so here we are.