How MENA Unrest Hurts Miners

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"Mining CEOs put oil at the top of their risk lists."

Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is hurting gold miners as oil prices pop.

On the one hand, recent violence in Libya has helped gold reclaim its identity as a safe-haven asset, pushing the metal up to a record close of $1,431.20 an ounce Tuesday. High gold prices can keep miners rolling in dough as low cash costs mean high profit margins.

But the biggest roadblock gold companies are confronting now is higher oil prices, which can eat into these profits. Oil topped $100 a barrel Tuesday and was trading above that level today, while Brent crude touched $116 on Tuesday.

Gold mining CEOs attending the BMO Capital Markets Global Metals & Mining conference here Monday and Tuesday were unanimous in putting oil at the top of their risk lists.

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