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It may sound funny, but I've been known to cheer when the mining stocks I own encounter temporary setbacks affecting production.
Given my underlying thesis that gold remains securely locked in a long-term bull market trend, a minor delay in getting gold out of the ground to me just means that the gold is likely to fetch higher prices down the road. For shareholders, it's a bit like holding exposure to gold in an underground vault. Markets, meanwhile, are notoriously short-term biased, so they're prone to presenting long-term investors with attractive entry points in the wake of these common hiccups.
Goldcorp (NYSE: GG ) hit a few snags during the second quarter that forced about a 170,000-ounce downward revision to estimated 2011 gold production. That may seem like a lot of the yellow stuff, but it represents only about a 6% revision from prior guidance of around 2.7 million ounces. A flooding event in the Dominican Republic forced joint-venture operator Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX ) to delay commissioning of the Pueblo Viejo mine until mid-2012, while forest fires in Ontario took a small toll on output from the Musselwhilte mine. The new Penasquito mine accounts for the bulk of the revision, with ramp-up delays creeping into the final stretch. Goldcorp expects to have the issues resolved before the end of the year, with the operation reaching full capacity early in 2012.
As a result, Mackie Research cut its price target for Goldcorp by 4%, to just over $72, while of course maintaining its buy rating given the implied 47% gain from the current share price. Reflecting the preeminence of Penasquito among Silver Wheaton's (NYSE: SLW ) choice portfolio of silver streams, TD Newcrest shaved $1 from its $46 target price for the most profitable company in the world.
Before Fools decide whether they share the market's disappointment with Goldcorp's revised production targets, let's have a look at how the company fared financially through such a supposedly challenging quarter. The miner's adjusted net income surged 111% to $420 million, and cash flow expanded 84% to $717 million. Goldcorp produced nearly 600,000 ounces of gold at a cash cost of just $185 per ounce, yielding an expanded margin of $1,331 for every ounce sold. That cost came in well below the prior-year level thanks to skyrocketing credits for by-product copper, silver, lead, and zinc; even as rising cost pressures across the industry pushed the co-product cost upward to $553 per ounce. The miner bettered its 2011 cost guidance by $100 per ounce, setting a new standard for low-cost leaders like Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY ) to follow.
Fools take note: Goldcorp referenced "strong potential upside" from regional exploration targets around the El Morro project in Chile. I remind Fools to consider the implications for my top 10 pick New Gold (AMEX: NGD ) , which holds a 30% stake in the project.
When you combine Goldcorp's unbridled financial success with an unaltered outlook for 60% production growth over the next five years, I believe the stock's dip back beneath $50 offers long-term investors a glistening opportunity to consider some exposure to the greatest of gold's major miners.