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  • Challenges Faced by Gold and Silver Mining Companies Amidst Energy Crisis in Europe

    Time: 2023-08-22 Source: Writer:
    The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused a surge in energy prices, leading to the suspension of gold and silver mining materials production by the world's largest sodium cyanide manufacturer in Europe. This article will delve into the implications of this development on the mining industry, with a focus on the Draslovka Group.

    I. Decreasing Economic Viability in Europe
    The production of chemicals used to extract precious metals from ore has become economically unviable in Europe due to exorbitant natural gas prices. The cost of natural gas in the region is 12 times higher than that in the United States, compared to a ratio of 1.5 times in 2020. Draslovka Group, with its 15% production capacity in the region, faces severe shortages in the supply chain.

    Supporting Evidence:
    According to Pavel Bruzek, CEO of Draslovka Group, the company needs to minimize production temporarily to test the response of the free market. The entire European region finds itself in a similar situation. Global market prices for cyanide have risen by 25-30%, but within Europe, the company's raw materials (ammonia and caustic soda) and energy costs for manufacturing have increased by 270% over the past year.

    II. Escalating Energy Crisis in Europe
    Europe currently experiences wholesale natural gas prices that are more than seven times higher than they were a year ago. Russia supplies 40% of the continent's natural gas demand, exacerbating the energy crisis. Various industrial energy users in Europe, such as Pro-Gest and Yara, have already halted operations or reduced production levels due to the energy crisis caused by the Russian invasion.

    Supporting Evidence:
    Pro-Gest, an Italian packaging group, suspended operations at six paper mills, while Yara, a Norwegian fertilizer manufacturer, has reduced production at their factories in Italy and France. Steel manufacturers in Spain have also reduced production output. This energy crisis has led to concerns and challenges across different sectors.

    III. Implications for Gold Mining and Cyanide Supply
    While gold prices have risen by approximately 10% since February, reaching nearly $2,000 per troy ounce, mining companies now face potential cyanide supply problems. Lower-grade ores require more cyanide for gold extraction.

    Supporting Evidence:
    Draslovka Group, which supplies gold mining companies in Turkey, Africa, and Latin America, anticipates generating over $450 million in revenue this year. The company acquired a cyanide plant in the United States from Chemours for $521 million in December last year. However, diversification into other regions is necessary due to the unexpected speed and scale of the energy crisis in Europe.

    Unique Perspective:
    The challenges faced by gold and silver mining companies in Europe highlight the need for both short-term and long-term solutions. While the current energy crisis poses significant hurdles, it also presents an opportunity for mining companies to explore alternative energy sources and enhance their operational efficiency. Collaborative efforts between governments, mining industries, and technology companies can facilitate sustainable mining practices while mitigating the impact of energy crises on the industry's growth.
    In conclusion, the energy crisis triggered by the Russian invasion in Ukraine has severely impacted the gold and silver mining industry in Europe. Draslovka Group's decision to suspend production reflects the economic challenges posed by soaring natural gas prices. To overcome these challenges, mining companies must devise innovative strategies, embrace sustainable practices, and seek partnerships to ensure the stability and growth of the industry amidst energy uncertainties.
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