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In the race to build the world's most attractive portfolio of present and prospective gold mines, Goldcorp (NYSE: GG ) sets the fastest pace.
Speeding into production growth with achievements including commercial production at the world-class Penasquito mine, and securing its future through a series of masterfully played strategic acquisitions, Goldcorp is fueled up and ready for a sustained and exciting growth spurt.
The miner turned in a fabulous third quarter on the strength of declining cash costs and, for anyone who may not have noticed, higher gold prices. With a cash margin of $979 for each ounce of gold produced, Goldcorp was able to generate a 46% increase in operating cash flow (before working capital changes) to $470.6 million. Net earnings quadrupled, from $114.2 million in the prior-year period, to $466.5 million. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share grew by 63% with only a 28% increase in revenue.
Goldcorp's new flagship Penasquito mine achieved negative cash costs during its first month of commercial production (September). That's an impressive achievement, since it's common for new mines to experience elevated costs during ramp-up. Newmont Mining's (NYSE: NEM ) challenges at the new Boddington mine come to mind. At Penasquito, the final pieces are moving into place that will see the mine ramp-up to annual production of 500,000 ounces of gold. This marks the sudden acceleration in Goldcorp's production growth trajectory that Fools have waited excitedly for.
Whether it was moving around behemoth Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX ) for a stake in the El Morro project in Chile, or outspending Eldorado Gold (NYSE: EGO ) for control of the Cerro Negro property in Argentina, Goldcorp has spent the past year earning its title as the master crafter of deals.
With Penasquito expenditures waning, Goldcorp determined it was "time to address the dividend." As cash-flow metrics balloon among the cost-effective miners of gold, I expect dividend yields in the industry to trend sharply higher ... proving that gold can pay dividends. Even after increasing its dividend 100% to $0.36, the stock will still yield less than 1%. Income investors may not be overly impressed as yet, but I encourage them to keep determined dividend growers like Goldcorp and Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM ) in their crosshairs.
As Goldcorp presses the pedal to the metal, targeting a 50% surge over the next four years (to at least 3.8 million ounces of annual gold production), this is one race car with room for Foolish passengers.