Leading gold mining executives predicted a challenging environment for the industry into next year during the Denver Gold Forum, a major conference that concluded on September 21. 

“We’re in a very volatile economic environment at the moment,” Newmont Corporation CEO Tom Palmer told Bloomberg News. Increases in the cost of labor, fuel, and equipment are impacting miners and Palmer sees the situation “continuing into the better part of 2023.”

Though fuel prices have eased in recent weeks, other expenses that are critical to mining, including explosives, have not come down. 

“We’ll likely still see inflation at high levels for a significant period of time, although we’ve seen it flattening off,” said Chris Griffith, CEO of South Africa’s Gold Fields Ltd.

While they anticipate cost pressures will persist, industry executives are optimistic that the price of bullion will rebound. A survey of ten presenters at the Denver Gold Forum predicted an average of $1806 for an ounce of gold by the end of the year.

“It’s a defensive asset during a time when there is macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty,” Peter Marrone, Executive Chairman of Yamana Gold Inc. told Bloomberg Television in an interview from the conference. “China has been in Covid restrictions for a long time,” he added, “as they come out of that we will see strong prices again.”

Geopolitical risks, including the Russia-Ukraine war and Europe’s energy crisis, also present good reasons for holding gold, the executives argued.