Gold and silver producer Hochschild was recently 6% lower from Wednesday, bringing prices away from recent three-and-a-half-year peaks above 315p per share. Shanta Gold has fared more favourably, however, and was 4% higher and just off 18-month highs of 10p.
Shanta Gold advised that pre-tax losses narrowed to $3m during January-June from $10.3m in the corresponding 2015 period. And revenues surged 75% during the first half to $55.7m thanks to higher gold values and increased production.
Total metal output rose to 48,237 ounces between January and June from 28,180 ounces a year earlier, Shanta noted, thanks to improved ore access at its Bauhinia Creek and Luika assets. And chief executive Toby Bradbury advised that “we retain our expectation of meeting the upper levels of our 2016 production guidance of 82,000-87,000 ounces.”
And in further good news, the gold digger saw cash costs collapse to $437 per ounce during the first half, down from $993 in the same period last year. This helped force net debt back below the $40 mark.
The news over at Hochschild Mining was also broadly positive on Thursday, despite its shares falling.
The London-based business saw revenues shoot 78% higher during January-June from a year earlier, to $339.3m. This helped Hochschild swing to pre-tax profits of $60.3m from losses of $43.4m in the corresponding 2015 half.
Like Shanta Gold, Hochschild has benefitted from the healthy uptick in precious metals values over the past year. But the company also has to thank a much-improved operational performance to thank for this rebound.
Hochschild produced 17m attributable silver equivalent ounces between January and June, while attributable gold equivalent ounces climbed to 229,100 ounces. And with its Inmaculada and Arcata mines performing ahead of prior expectations, Hochschild has hiked its full-year output target from 32m attributable silver equivalent ounces to 34m ounces.
On top of this, the digger saw cash costs slide during the first half, prompting Hochschild to also slash its forecasts for the year — costs are now predicted to register at $11-$11.50 per silver equivalent ounce, down from a previous estimate of $12-$12.50.
So should you buy?
I consider today’s stock price decline over at Hochschild to be nothing more than mild profit-taking following sustained strength — the share has risen more than 500% since 2016 kicked off!
While the silver price remains on shakier ground than gold — a result of the metal’s wide usage in industry, and consequent correlation to the health of the global economy — I believe the shaky macroeconomic environment leaves plenty of scope for further ‘safe haven’ buying of the shiny commodities.
And with Shanta Gold and Hochschild getting a grip on slashing costs, not to mention embarking on exciting exploration and development projects, I reckon the precious metals plays could keep on rising.
Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. 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.