Newmont Manager Sees Golden Future In State

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As gold prices remain strong, the general manager of Newmont Mining Corp.'s eastern Nevada operations says he is optimistic about the future of the gold industry in the state.

Trent Tempel told a gathering in Elko that the world's largest gold producer is upbeat because of the weak U.S. dollar, the trade deficit and a leveling off of gold production because exploration was down during the long slump in prices.

The metal closed at $419.90 an ounce Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, off $2.90 from Wednesday's close, but up nearly $30 an ounce from early March.

Tempel cautioned that he is not saying gold will return to the $800 price of 1980, although he told the Elko Daily Free Press "there are similarities with the weakening dollar and rising price of gold" to that heyday.

"Gold cycles are long cycles," he said.

After peaking at $850 an ounce in January 1980, prices plunged to the high $200s in 1997.

Now that gold prices are in the $400 range, there is new interest in exploration and development, Tempel said, but he cautioned that production "won't turn on a dime," because getting from exploration to production is a long process.

"Our strategy is to sequence upcoming projects in a fashion to sustain production at a steady level," Tempel said.