Gold miners eye higher prices in the year ahead

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The Independent Online

Global gold miners are betting the yellow metal's seven-year bull run will continue throughout 2011, according to an industry survey to be published today.

Gold prices have hit a string of record highs this year, most recently reaching $1422 an ounce at the beginning of November. But some 82 per cent of gold producers are forecasting that production levels will continue to rise next year, according to the Global Gold Price Survey Report from consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Respondents' predictions of next year's peak price range from $1,400 to $3,000. But the largest proportion, some 40 per cent, forecast a high of $1,500, driven up by currency concerns, particularly around the impact on the dollar of the US Federal Reserve's $600bn quantitative easing programme.

Nearly three-quarters (70 per cent) of gold miners surveyed are planning to use the extra flood of cash from this year's record prices to bankroll exploration or expand existing mines to boost reserves, with some 78 per cent of them planning brownfield exploration and 54 per cent considering greenfield exploration.