The Global War on Cash
There is a global push by lawmakers to eliminate the use of physical cash around the world. This movement is often referred to as “The War on Cash”, and there are three major players involved:
1. The Initiators
Governments, central banks.
The elimination of cash will make it easier to track all types of transactions – including those made by criminals.
2. The Enemy
Large denominations of bank notes make illegal transactions easier to perform, and increase anonymity.
3. The Crossfire
The coercive elimination of physical cash will have potential repercussions on the economy and social liberties.
Is Cash Still King?
Cash has always been king – but starting in the late 1990s, the convenience of new technologies have helped make non-cash transactions to become more viable:
- Online banking
- Payment technologies
By 2015, there were 426 billion cashless transactions worldwide – a 50% increase from five years before.
|Year||# of cashless transactions|
And today, there are multiple ways to pay digitally, including:
- Online banking (Visa, Mastercard, Interac)
- Smartphones (Apple Pay)
- Intermediaries ( Paypal , Square)
- Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin)
The First Shots Fired
The success of these new technologies have prompted lawmakers to posit that all transactions should now be digital.
Here is their case for a cashless society:
Removing high denominations of bills from circulation makes it harder for terrorists, drug dealers, money launderers, and tax evaders.
- $1 million in $100 bills weighs only one kilogram (2.2 lbs).
- Criminals move $2 trillion per year around the world each year.
- The U.S. $100 bill is the most popular note in the world, with 10 billion of them in circulation.
This also gives regulators more control over the economy.
- More traceable money means higher tax revenues.
- It means there is a third-party for all transactions.
- Central banks can dictate interest rates that encourage (or discourage) spending to try to manage inflation. This includes ZIRP or NIRP policies.
Cashless transactions are faster and more efficient.
- Banks would incur less costs by not having to handle cash.
- It also makes compliance and reporting easier.
- The “burden” of cash can be up to 1.5% of GDP, according to some experts.
But for this to be possible, they say that cash – especially large denomination bills – must be eliminated. After all, cash is still used for about 85% of all transactions worldwide.
A Declaration of War
Governments and central banks have moved swiftly in dozens of countries to start eliminating cash.
Some key examples of this? Australia, Singapore, Venezuela, the U.S., and the European Central Bank have all eliminated (or have proposed to eliminate) high denomination notes. Other countries like France, Sweden and Greece have targeted adding restrictions on the size of cash transactions, reducing the amount of ATMs in the countryside, or limiting the amount of cash that can be held outside of the banking system. Finally, some countries have taken things a full step further – South Korea aims to eliminate paper currency in its entirety by 2020.
But right now, the “War on Cash” can’t be mentioned without invoking images of day-long lineups in India. In November 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetized 500 and 1000 rupee notes, eliminating 86% of the country’s notes overnight. While Indians could theoretically exchange 500 and 1,000 rupee notes for higher denominations, it was only up to a limit of 4,000 rupees per person. Sums above that had to be routed through a bank account in a country where only 50% of Indians have such access.
The Hindu has reported that there have now been 112 reported deaths associated with the Indian demonetization. Some people have committed suicide, but most deaths come from elderly people waiting in bank queues for hours or days to exchange money.
Caught in the Crossfire
The shots fired by governments to fight its war on cash may have several unintended casualties:
- Cashless transactions would always include some intermediary or third-party.
- Increased government access to personal transactions and records.
- Certain types of transactions (gambling, etc.) could be barred or frozen by governments.
- Decentralized cryptocurrency could be an alternative for such transactions
- Savers could no longer have the individual freedom to store wealth “outside” of the system.
- Eliminating cash makes negative interest rates (NIRP) a feasible option for policymakers.
- A cashless society also means all savers would be “on the hook” for bank bail-in scenarios.
- Savers would have limited abilities to react to extreme monetary events like deflation or inflation.
3. Human Rights
- Rapid demonetization has violated people’s rights to life and food.
- In India, removing the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes has caused multiple human tragedies, including patients being denied treatment and people not being able to afford food.
- Demonetization also hurts people and small businesses that make their livelihoods in the informal sectors of the economy.
- With all wealth stored digitally, the potential risk and impact of cybercrime increases.
- Hacking or identity theft could destroy people’s entire life savings.
- The cost of online data breaches is already expected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2019, according to Juniper Research.
As the War on Cash accelerates, many shots will be fired. The question is: who will take the majority of the damage?
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Mapped: The 10 Largest Gold Mines in the World, by Production
Gold mining companies produced over 3,500 tonnes of gold in 2021. Where in the world are the largest gold mines?
The 10 Largest Gold Mines in the World, by Production
Gold mining is a global business, with hundreds of mining companies digging for the precious metal in dozens of countries.
But where exactly are the largest gold mines in the world?
The above infographic uses data compiled from S&P Global Market Intelligence and company reports to map the top 10 gold-producing mines in 2021.
Editor’s Note: The article uses publicly available global production data from the World Gold Council to calculate the production share of each mine. The percentages slightly differ from those calculated by S&P.
The Top Gold Mines in 2021
The 10 largest gold mines are located across nine different countries in North America, Oceania, Africa, and Asia.
Together, they accounted for around 13 million ounces or 12% of global gold production in 2021.
|Rank||Mine||Location||Production (ounces)||% of global production|
|#1||Nevada Gold Mines||🇺🇸 U.S.||3,311,000||2.9%|
|#5||Pueblo Viejo||🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||814,000||0.7%|
|#6||Kibali||🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo||812,000||0.7%|
|#8||Lihir||🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||737,082||0.6%|
|#9||Canadian Malartic||🇨🇦 Canada||714,784||0.6%|
Share of global gold production is based on 3,561 tonnes (114.5 million troy ounces) of 2021 production as per the World Gold Council.
In 2019, the world’s two largest gold miners—Barrick Gold and Newmont Corporation—announced a historic joint venture combining their operations in Nevada. The resulting joint corporation, Nevada Gold Mines, is now the world’s largest gold mining complex with six mines churning out over 3.3 million ounces annually.
Uzbekistan’s state-owned Muruntau mine, one of the world’s deepest open-pit operations, produced just under 3 million ounces, making it the second-largest gold mine. Muruntau represents over 80% of Uzbekistan’s overall gold production.
Only two other mines—Grasberg and Olimpiada—produced more than 1 million ounces of gold in 2021. Grasberg is not only the third-largest gold mine but also one of the largest copper mines in the world. Olimpiada, owned by Russian gold mining giant Polyus, holds around 26 million ounces of gold reserves.
Polyus was also recently crowned the biggest miner in terms of gold reserves globally, holding over 104 million ounces of proven and probable gold between all deposits.
How Profitable is Gold Mining?
The price of gold is up by around 50% since 2016, and it’s hovering near the all-time high of $2,000/oz.
That’s good news for gold miners, who achieved record-high profit margins in 2020. For every ounce of gold produced in 2020, gold miners pocketed $828 on average, significantly higher than the previous high of $666/oz set in 2011.
With inflation rates hitting decade-highs in several countries, gold mining could be a sector to watch, especially given gold’s status as a traditional inflation hedge.
How to Avoid Common Mistakes With Mining Stocks (Part 5: Funding Strength)
A mining company’s past projects and funding strength are interlinked. This infographic outlines how a company’s ability to raise capital can determine the fate of a mining stock.
A mining company’s past projects and funding strength are interlinked, and can provide clues as to its potential success.
A good track record can provide better opportunities to raise capital, but the company must still ensure it times its financing with the market, protects its shareholders, and demonstrates value creation from the funding it receives.
Part 5: The Role of Funding Strength
We’ve partnered with Eclipse Gold Mining on an infographic series to show you how to avoid common mistakes when evaluating and investing in mining exploration stocks.
Part 5 of the series highlights six things to keep in mind when analyzing a company’s project history and funding ability.
View all five parts of the series:
- 1. Common mistakes made with the team
- 2. Common mistakes made with the business plan
- 3. Common mistakes with the jurisdiction of the project
- 4. Common mistakes with the project and technical risks
- 5. Common mistakes with raising money
Part 5: Raising Capital and Funding Strength
So what must investors evaluate when it comes to funding strength?
Here are six important areas to cover.
1. Past Project Success: Veteran vs. Recruit
A history of success in mining helps to attract capital from knowledgeable investors. Having an experienced team provides confidence and opens up opportunities to raise additional capital on more favorable terms.
- A team with past experience and success in similar projects
- A history of past projects creating value for shareholders
- A clear understanding of the building blocks of a successful project
A company with successful past projects instills confidence in investors and indicates the company knows how to make future projects successful, as well.
2. Well-balanced Financing: Shareholder Friendly vs. Banker Friendly
Companies need to balance between large investors and protecting retail shareholders. Management with skin in the game ensures they find a balance between serving the interests of both of these unique groups.
- Clear communication with shareholders regarding the company’s financing plans
- High levels of insider ownership ensures management has faith in the company’s direction, and is less likely to make decisions which hurt shareholders
- Share dilution is done in a limited capacity and only when it helps finance new projects that will create more value for shareholders
Mining companies need to find a balance between keeping their current shareholders happy while also offering attractive financing options to attract further investors.
3. A Liquid Stock: Hot Spot vs. Ghost Town
Lack of liquidity in a stock can be a major problem when it comes to attracting investment. It can limit investments from bigger players like funds and savvy investors. Investors prefer liquid stocks that are easily traded, as this allows them to capitalize on market trends.
- A liquid stock ensures shareholders are able to buy and sell shares at their expected price
- More liquid stocks often trade at better valuations than their illiquid counterparts
- High liquidity can help avoid price crashes during times of market instability
Liquidity makes all the difference when it comes to attracting investors and ensuring they’re comfortable holding a company’s stock.
4. Timing the Market: On Time vs. Too Late or Too Early
Raising capital at the wrong time can result in little interest from investors. Companies in tune with market cycles can raise capital to capture rising interest in the commodity they’re mining.
Being On Time:
- Raising capital near the start of a commodity’s bull market can attract interest from speculators looking to capitalize on price trends
- If timed well, the attention around a commodity can attract investors
- Well-timed financing will instill confidence in shareholders, who will be more likely to hold onto their stock
- Raising capital at the right time during bull markets is less expensive for the company and reduces risk for investors
Companies need to time when they raise capital in order to maximize the amount raised.
5. Where is the Money Going? Money Well Spent vs. Well Wasted
How a company spends its money plays a crucial role in whether the company is generating more value or just keeping the lights on. Investors should always try to determine if management is simply in it for a quick buck, or if they truly believe in their projects and the quality of the ore the company is mining.
Money Well Spent:
- Raised capital goes towards expanding projects and operations
- Efficient use of capital can increase revenue and keep shareholders happy with dividend hikes and share buybacks
- By showing tangible results from previous investments, a company can more easily raise capital in the future
Raised capital needs to be allocated wisely in order to support projects and generate value for shareholders.
6. Additional Capital: Back for More vs. Tapped Out
Mining is a capital intensive process, and unless the company has access to a treasure trove, funding is crucial to advancing any project. Companies that demonstrate consistency in their ability to create value at every stage will find it easier to raise capital when it’s necessary.
Back For More:
- Raise more capital when necessary to fund further development on a project
- Able to show the value they generated from previous funding when looking to raise capital a second time
- Attract future shareholders easily by treating current shareholders well
Every mining project requires numerous financings. However, if management proves they spend capital in a way that creates value, investors will likely offer more funding during difficult or unexpected times.
Wealth Creation and Funding Strength
Mining companies that develop significant assets can create massive amounts of wealth, but often the company will not see cash flow for years. This is why it is so important to have funding strength: an ability to raise capital and build value to harvest later.
It is a challenging process to build a mining company, but management that has the ability to treat their shareholders and raise money can see their dreams built.
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