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Australia usurping China to becomes world's top gold producer - Surbiton Associates

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(Kitco News) -After 14 years of being king of the mountain, China is in the process of being dethroned as the world's largest gold producer.

In a report published Sunday, Australian-based mining consultancy firm Surbiton Associates said that Australia's gold production for the first half of 2021 beat China's output by four tonnes during the same period, according to data from China Gold Association's.

According to its production numbers, Surbiton Associates said that Australia produced 157 tonnes of gold in the first six months of the year, compared to 153 tonnes produced in China.

Australia produced 74 tonnes during the first quarter and 83 tonnes during the second quarter.

"We shall have to see what happens to gold production in the next six months, both in Australia and in China," said Dr. Sandra Close, a director of Surbiton Associates. "It was reported that Chinese gold output was adversely affected by work accidents including deaths, with shut-downs resulting while investigations took place."

Quoting data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), Surbiton Associates said that China had been the world's largest producer of gold since 2007 when it surpassed South Africa.

Close added that for the financial year 2020/2021, Australia had produced 321 tonnes of gold, which is worth about A$26 billion at the current gold prices of A$2,500.

"Gold has certainly made a sizeable contribution to the economy in what has been a most challenging COVID year," said Close.

Although Australia is now sitting at the top of the gold pile, Surbiton Associates noted that production is down slightly compared to record levels seen in 2020. Last year the nation produced 328 tonnes of gold.

Many mining analysts have been expecting Australia to become the world's top gold producer. The country has been a substantial increase in exploration activity in the last few years.

Close noted that the gold price in Australian dollars has encouraged activity in the sector.

"It is interesting to look at the amount of money now being spent on gold exploration as a proportion of total mineral exploration expenditure," Close said. "In 2001, gold exploration comprised around 55 percent of total mineral exploration expenditure. It fell to only 20 percent between 2008 and 2014 but has recovered now to around 50 percent.

Australia's largest gold producers for the 2020-21 financial year were:

Cadia East  764,895  Newcrest Mining Ltd
Boddington 700,000 Newmont Inc
Fosterville  592,178 Kirkland Lake Gold Inc
Tanami 481,000 Newmont Inc
Super Pit  478,439 Northern Star Resources Ltd

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