The lead up to this year’s Diggers and Dealers has been rife with speculation over delegate numbers and what affect the downturn would have on the formidable mining forum.
Local skimpies are concerned their titty kitty’s won’t be as plump as previous years and there is still accommodation and flights available, something that would’ve been unheard of just last year.
Getting off to a flying start on Monday with US economist and former adviser to the Obama administration Austan Goolsbee, sentiment at the conference is surprisingly upbeat and there’s a real sense of camaraderie amongst the Diggers.
Goolsbee said he is positive about medium to long-term economic growth, explaining there is a case for optimism beyond the next 6 to 12 months.
"You will know when a real recovery begins when 25 year olds move out of their parents' basement," he said.
Goolsbee said he expects Chinese growth to continue and US recovery to eventuate if the Government moves towards boosting manufacturing.
Chief executive of mid tier gold miner Alacer Gold, David Quinlivan said the falling gold price could see some of Alacer's gold assets be put into care and maintenance if not sold.
He explained there was a widespread view that the company's Higginsville and South Kalgoorlie operations are a "drag" on its Turkish operations.
It's open-pit Cöpler mine, located about 120 kilometres southwest of Erzincan, in Turkey last year produced 188,756 ounces of gold at a total cash cost of $375 an ounce.
Quinlivan said there has been about 12 interested groups looking at its Australian gold operations, due diligence processes have commenced, and an announcement will be made in the next month.
He indicated if a favourable deal isn’t struck the Australian assets will likely run on a high grade mining regime then be placed into care and maintenance mode.
Northern Star Resources was a stand out on day one, announcing earnings are up by 30 per cent, posting a record profit of $28.3 million on the back of a jump in gold production.
Owner of the Paulsens underground gold mine located in WA’s West Pilbara Mineral Fields, which Australian stockbroker Patersons labelled a “money making machine”, the miner has managed to lower its cash cost by 5 per cent to $680 an ounce and deliver 88,614 ounces of gold.
Northern Star managing director Bill Beament also bucked the trend of downbeat gold miners, saying the gold price is “fantastic”.
“Two years ago we were jumping around in Kalgoorlie here singing its praises, and it’s the same price,” he said.
“At the end of the day it’s a very good gold price.”