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Is now the time to buy gold producers Randgold Resources Limited, Centamin plc and Petropavlovsk plc?

Gold has performed incredibly well this year and many gold bugs believe we are on the brink of another long and furious bull market. After gold touched $1300/oz the price has come back by over $70/oz and now may well be a perfect buying opportunity.

Today I’m looking at three gold producers that will perform very well if gold continues its bull run. 

African giant

Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) is a fantastically run business and has been mentioned by many mining experts as ‘the best gold miner in the world’. The company operates in four African countries, including Mali, where its flagship Loulo-Gounkoto mine is located. Randgold operates its mines very efficiently and the company is one of the lowest cost producers in the world, with cash costs somewhere in the $600/oz region.

Randgold is one of the most expensive miners in the world, trading on a price-to-earnings of 41, and it pays a small dividend yield of 0.68%. However, even though the company may look expensive it’s a very well run business and the share price consistently outperforms the gold price. 

Egyptian miner

Another gold stock that is worth a look is Centamin (LSE: CEY). Centamin operate the Sukari gold mine in southern Egypt. The company produces gold at an all-in cost of $900/oz, which provides plenty of headroom should gold fall further. It also holds close to $300m in cash and liquid assets, and has highlighted the dividend as a priority for the future.

Centamin also holds exploration licenses in Africa, but has emphasised that the dividend holds priority over exploration expenses. Centamin currently yields just under 2%, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some dividend uplift in the next two years as the higher gold price increases profits from Sukari. 

Siberian recovery 

Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) has staged a remarkable comeback in the last year. The company was in dire straights until a major refinancing package was agreed early last year. This effectively wiped out equity holders with to a 157 for 10 rights issue, but it secured a future for the company. In the first year after refinancing the company managed to reduce net debt by an impressive 34% due to a 13% decrease in the total cash costs of production.

The company is hoping to continue to pay debt down with revenues created from its Siberian gold mines, and to grow the company through acquisitions. The mines that the company operates in Siberia are very good quality and production is stable and sustainable at current rates. 

The global economic headwinds should mean that 2016 is a year to remember for investors in gold and other precious metals. These three gold producers offer a great way for investors to gain some exposure to gold this year. All three companies offer slightly different risk profiles, but should all track the gold price higher. 

Growth stocks offer huge returns but always carry an increased level of risk and must be chosen carefully to avoid losses. 

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Jack Dingwall owns shares in Randgold Resources. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.