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So you think owning a gold mine would solve all your financial problems?

Maybe not right now. The relatively low price of gold is posing a heap of economic difficulties for mining houses in South Africa -- the non-communist world's greatest source of bullion. Some mining houses are warning that the price of gold has sunk to a level where mining it is unprofitable.

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Mining costs have risen on average more than 21 percent per year since 1975, and many mines are being squeezed between these higher costs and the sluggish gold price. A South African bank analysis on gold mining warns that 10 mines in that country ''could be in a difficult position this year.''

The Falklands crisis has given gold a brief fillip, but the price still hovers in the $350 per ounce range -- less than half what it sold for in 1980.

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