Australian Gold Production Near Record Levels - Surbiton Associates
(Kitco News) - Australian gold production continues to fire on all cylinders and could result in record output this year, according to Australian gold mining consultants Surbiton Associates in a report released Sunday.
In the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, Australian gold production totaled 81 tonnes, the report said. Gold output was slightly down from the previous quarter but up 8% from 75 tonnes mined during the same quarter last year.
“Overall, production is remarkably stable, despite the ups and downs at individual operations,” said Sandra Close, a Surbiton director, in a press release. “If gold output is maintained at current levels in the December quarter, output for the full calendar year 2018 will remain at a near-record level.”
Australia continues to solidify its position as the No. 2 gold-producing nation in the world, just behind China, the consultancy said. The country is now comfortably producing 300 tonnes of year valued at $16 billion in Australian dollars.
Close attributed the steady gold production to relatively stable Australian gold prices, improved output from existing operations, and junior companies mining small gold deposits and selling their ore to the larger companies with spare treatment capacity or having their ore toll treated.
“Many treatment plants are running at, close to or above capacity,” Close said. “Certainly we might lose some production due to mine closures in the next few years, but there are other big and small projects coming along that should enable Australian gold output to be maintained and perhaps increased.”
The data compiled by Surbiton show that Newcrest Mining’s Cadia East mine was the nation’s largest gold producer last quarter, producing 213,514 ounces of gold. Production picked up in the third quarter as the mine continued to resolve problems due to a tailings dam wall collapse in March.
However, the highlight last quarter in the Australian gold sector was RNC Mineral’s discovery of a 90-kilogram specimen rock that contained about 1,000 ounces of gold. The company is planning on taking the rock on a world tour.
“These specimens are extraordinary,” Close said. “They are not like nuggets found near the surface but are large masses consisting of extremely rich gold in quartz, mined some 500m [meters] or so underground.”