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Paulson's gold investor group urges deals, costs purge

Sept 12 (Reuters) - Gold bull John Paulson’s investor coalition on Thursday urged the world’s largest gold miners to immediately cut what it called excessive governance and administrative (G&A) costs and said smaller rivals should pursue no-premium mergers to boost shareholder returns.

Concerns over global growth and trade uncertainties have pushed gold prices to multi-year highs, stoking expectations of deals among miners and reviving anxieties over cost control. This month, gold climbed to its highest level since 2013 hitting $1,503.04 per ounce Thursday.

Major miners including Polymetal, Kinross Gold Corp and Newmont Goldcorp Corp spend nearly two times more on G&A than non-gold producing rivals, Paulson’s Shareholders Gold Council said in a report.

Among mid-tier producers, Golden Star Resources, Jaguar Mining, Petropavlovsk, Dundee Precious Metals and Eldorado Gold Corp have the highest spending levels.

The investor group urged the smaller gold miners to seek nil-premium mergers to eliminate duplication and lower costs.

“If the gold producers brought down their G&A levels closer to other mining peers, then $13 billion of value could be unlocked for shareholders,” the report said.

The coalition was launched last fall by Paulson’s U.S. hedge fund Paulson & Co. It includes Adrian Day Asset Management, Apogee Global Advisors, AMG Fondsverwaltung AG, Delbrook Capital, Equinox Partners LP, Equity Management Associates, John Hathaway, Kopernik Global Investors, Livermore Partners, La Mancha and Sun Valley Gold. (Reporting by Jeff Lewis; editing by David Evans)