Cash Flow 4 Gold

If handing over your precious metals for pennies on the dollar sounds like a dubious way to get cash for gold, consider a far more profitable alternative.

Goldcorp (NYSE: GG  ) doesn't need your gold. The miner is already sitting atop more gold in reserve than all the gold reportedly held by the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (NYSE: GLD  ) . Not even China's growing sovereign stash would pile as high. While central banks are keen to sit atop their hoards, however, Goldcorp is busy converting that wealth into golden gains for shareholders.

Before changes in working capital, Goldcorp generated robust cash flow of $321 million in the third quarter, good for a 35% increase over the comparable 2008 quarter. Net earnings of $114 million may grab some attention, since they represent a 62% decline year over year. But Fools are reminded that the third quarter of 2008 contained a $254 million foreign exchange-related gain, compared to the more recent period's $28 million charge. Adjusted earnings topped both prior-year results and analyst expectations.

Goldcorp President and CEO Chuck Jeannes would like you to focus on that cash flow: "Gold prices have exhibited continued strength and sustainability above $1,000 per ounce, and with our production and cash costs trending positively, the stage is set for continued strength in cash flow and profitability through the end of the year and beyond." My readers know where I stand on gold prices. After checking up on Goldcorp's progress on multiple development projects, this Fool also shares Jeannes' enthusiasm for Goldcorp's outlook.

At the Red Lake mining camp, Goldcorp has devised an interesting engineering solution to fast-track development of the nearby Cochenour deposit. It's approving a five-kilometer high-speed underground tram to transport ore directly to the existing Red Lake mill. 

With beneficiaries Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW  ) and Royal Gold (Nasdaq: RGLD  ) watching closely, commissioning of the world-class Penasquito mine continues on schedule, and mining operations are stacking copious supplies of high-grade ore ahead of commercial production. And with 9 million ounces of reserves attributable to Goldcorp, the $2.7 billion Pueblo Viejo joint venture with Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX  ) is progressing toward production in late 2011.

Like midtier smooth operator Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY  ) , Goldcorp continues to execute on multiple mine development projects while delivering the lowest-cost gold production in its peer group. With roughly an $800 gross operating margin between current gold prices and projected 2009 production cost of $300 per ounce, every ounce mined is shareholder cash for gold. I continue to view Goldcorp as the best-positioned senior producer, but I invite you to take our Motley Poll to share your own perspective.

Gold is a hot topic on the blogs at Motley Fool CAPS. Join the free service today and see just how many Fools are taking the long view when it comes to investing in gold. The "Gold" tag at CAPS lists 47 potential investments, and you'll find Christopher's comments on most of them.

Fool contributor Christopher Barker can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly in the CAPS community under the user name TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns shares of Royal Gold, Silver Wheaton, and Yamana Gold. The Motley Fool has a gilded disclosure policy.


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