Rumours of Gold Fields Buyout, Gold Smuggling Up in Pakistan

The price of gold in Sydney closed up USD$1.45 at USD$678.85 a fine ounce yesterday, The Australian reports. Gold miners had a mixed day, with Lihir Gold (ASX:LHG) dropping  3c to AUD$3.26, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) up 22c to AUD$23.95 and Newmont (ASX:NEM) down 3c to $5.24.

Market interest in Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) has risen dramatically after reports from Bloomberg that US financier Edward Pastorini could lead a bid for the company due to his belief that gold prices will rise dramatically in the next two to three years.

“The LBO firms, corporate raiders and I feel that gold is going to rise to over USD$1,000 an ounce over the next two to three years,” Mr Pastorini told Bloomberg. “It makes sense to own one of the best gold companies and enhance the values of each of its gold mines separately in the markets.”

South-African based Gold Fields is the world’s fourth-largest gold producer. Shares in the company gained peaked at R152,50 after the report was released, but handed back much of the gain to close up 3.5%.

The Hindu reports that the The Gold Club of Chennai has launched 24-carat gold coins in different weights — from one gram to 10 grams, which will be available at the jewellery outlets of members of the council several days before the Akshaya Tritiya festival, a major gold-buying event in India.

Anyone who buys the coins will be able to exchange them for gold or money in any of the close-to 200 members’ showrooms in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. World Gold Council vice president K. Shivram said according to a conservative estimate, about 38 tonnes of gold were sold in the country during `Akshaya Tritiya’ last year, and a higher figure is expected this year.
Domestic gold consumption in Pakistan declined by 40% between July 2006 and February 2007 due to an increase in smuggling and higher gold prices and taxes, Pakistan’s Daily Times reports. Gold imports were around 8,700kg in July-February 2006-2007 as compared with 20,400kg in the same period last year.

President of the Tariq Road Jewellers Association, Humayun Ahmad said the imposition of one percent wealth tax on gold import was behind growth in gold smuggling, which represents around 15% of total gold imports in Pakistan.

Aurizon Mines (TSE:ARZ) has released its first quarter results, which include the production of more than 30,000 ounces of gold from its Casa Berardi property in Quebec, Canada. The World Gold Council reports that the gold produced at Casa Berardi was 20 below Aurizon’s planned level, which the company attributes to the commissioning and ramp-up phase at the property, which resulted in a temporary halt to production work in January.

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