UPDATE 2-Canadian miners cut jobs, spending as metal prices fall

Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:42pm EDT

* Endeavour Silver to defer 20 pct of capital investments in 2013

* Says cost cuts will not impact silver output at Mexican mines

* Osisko Mining says to reduce workforce by about 6 pct

* Endeavour Silver shares rise 4 pct; Osisko up 8 pct

* Orosur Mining shares plunge 31 pct on revenue warning

By Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay

April 29 (Reuters) - Three Canadian gold and silver miners announced cost cutting on Monday to try to protect their earnings in the face of falling precious metal prices.

Endeavour Silver Corp, Osisko Mining Corp and Orosur Mining Inc said they plan to reduce their workforce to cope with lower prices and margins this year.

The shares of Orosur slid 31 percent as it warned revenue would fall but shares of the other two rose in response to their cost cutting.

Silver prices have fallen 26 percent to $23.98 per ounce in the past year, while gold prices declined 11 percent in the same period to close at $1,462.50 per ounce on Friday.

Gold producer Orosur said it had started reviewing its operations and it warned of lower production and revenue for 2013-2014 financial year. It shares fell as low as 32 Canadian cents.

Miners around the world have slashed spending in an effort to control runaway development budgets. The world's No. 1 gold producer, Barrick Gold Corp, said this month it planned to further cut capital spending as it made a painful adjustment to the sustained slump in bullion prices.

More cost cutting was on the way for the industry, said analyst Chris Thompson of Raymond James.

"My sense is that everybody is going to do it in varying degrees, depending on the economies of their operations."

Endeavour Silver said it will defer 20 percent of its planned 2013 capital expenditure of $85.8 million.

"It pays to be prudent at times like this," Endeavour Chief Executive Bradford Cooke said in a statement.

Montreal-based Osisko, whose only operating mine, Malartic, is located in the Abitibi mining district in Quebec, said its discretionary investment program had been cut. It had planned for capital expenditure of C$220 million for 2013.

"Our discretionary investment program has been modified as responsible corporate policy to take into account the recent decline in the gold price," Osisko CEO Sean Roosen said.

Osisko shares rose more than 8 percent to C$4.43 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday, while Endeavour Silver shares rose as much as 5 percent to C$5.35.

JOBS GO

Endeavour said it would cut an unspecified number of jobs and Osisko said it would reduce its workforce by about 6 percent and whittle down discretionary spending by over C$80 million for the year. Orosur also said it would cut jobs.

"Like many gold producers, Orosur is reacting to reduced long term gold price expectations. We are focusing on lowering costs to ensure we maintain an operating margin," chairman Tony Shearer said.

HSBC on Friday lowered its gold forecast for this year and the next, saying the recent tumble in prices had dealt a severe blow to investor confidence that may take many months to restore. It also cut its 2013 silver price forecast to $26 per ounce from $33.

Analyst Thompson said for some companies the cost cutting is a little more urgent than for others.

"For Endeavour Silver, I feel it is a little bit more urgent to cut back on costs. The very nature of Endeavour's mine being a high-cost operation necessitates little bit more focus on cost cutting," he said.

None of the cost reductions are expected to change the company's silver production estimate for the year, said Endeavour, which is due to release first-quarter results on May 6.

Endeavour's Guanacevi mine in the Mexican state of Durango and the Bolanitos and El Cubo mines in the state of Guanajuato together produced 4.5 million ounces of silver and 38,600 ounces of gold in 2012.

Production this year is expected to total 5.0 million to 5.3 million ounces of silver and 47,000 to 49,000 ounces of gold.

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