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Taming the bull: will miners avoid boomtime profligacy?

Previous bull markets have shown miners will throw money away on bad deals, to shareholders' detriment
Taming the bull: will miners avoid boomtime profligacy?

Wasting money is a common issue in bull markets. This extends from miners buying up competitors for billions to young drill rig technicians in Edmonton spending big on new trucks because oil is at $80 (£59) a barrel. 

Gold miners find themselves in such a bull market right now, although memories of the 2013-2016 downturn are still recent enough for executives to be wary of top-of-the-market splurges. Outside the precious metals sector, majors like Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP (BHP) have clearly learnt from the last bull cycle and have handed record amounts to shareholders in recent years rather than throwing billions at new mines. 

Gold miners have also been cautious, but could have another year of added cash flow given many operations are designed to make a profit at a $1,300 an ounce (oz) gold price. Even if the precious metal falls to $1,500 (£1,100), from the current $1,860, profits will remain high. But once shareholders have received a boosted payout, where should that extra money go? 

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