February 1, 2018 / 11:04 AM / 3 months ago

Tanzania's Acacia Mining hedges gold output at $1,320 an ounce

LONDON, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Acacia Mining has spent $2 million to lock in the option to sell 120,000 ounces of its gold output at $1,320 an ounce, hedging against lower prices to offset the impact of a government ban on concentrate exports.

Mining companies use these “put” options to guarantee prices for future output, gaining the right to sell at an agreed price at a specified time.

A Reuters poll of 35 analysts and traders last week forecast an average gold price of $1,311 this year, its strongest since 2013. Spot gold was at $1,340 at 1032 GMT on Thursday.

“These options provide a minimum price for the majority of the group’s expected production for the first half of 2018 above our budgeted gold price of $1,200 per ounce, with full upside exposure should the gold price continue to trade above the respective strike prices,” Acacia said in a statement.

The move by Acacia, majority owned by Barrick Gold, follows a similar operation last year, when the London-listed miner bought $3.2 million of put options covering 210,000 ounces at $1,300 an ounce to stem cash outflows.

Tanzania banned the export of gold and copper ore in March over a tax dispute and to encourage the construction of domestic smelters.

The East African country’s government also introduced laws in July that, among other things, increased taxes on mineral exports, gave the state a higher stake in some mining operations and raised export royalties.

Acacia, Tanzania’s largest gold miner, has lost more than half of its value over the past year and in September shut underground work at one of its three mines in response to the law changes.

The company said that its latest put options will expire in instalments of 30,000 ounces each month between March and June. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by David Goodman)

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