Australia remains world’s second largest gold producer

Australian gold production experienced a strong recovery during the June 2020 quarter, with output totalling 85 tonnes, more than 10 per cent above the March quarter.

Gold mining consultant Surbiton Associates outlined this rise in its most recent report, which also showed a record 328 tonnes of gold production in the 2019-2020 financial year.

This was a record for any 12-month period and is worth nearly $25 billion at the average gold price for the period.

Surbiton Associates director doctor Sandra Close said due to global uncertainty and unrest, the interest in the precious metal has never been higher.

“I cannot recall so much interest in gold since the modern boom began almost 40 years ago,” Close said.

“There is a high level of activity overall, from investment, increased capital raisings and initial public offerings, to greater exploration and drilling and a scramble to peg new ground.”

Close said despite this continued period of disruption and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian gold production had not been affected, with exploration minimally affected by travel restrictions.

According to the United States Geological Survey, Australia remains the world’s second largest gold producer behind China, followed by Russia.

Australia’s largest gold producers for the 2019-2020 financial year were Newcrest Mining’s Cadia, with 843,338 ounces, Newmont’s Boddington with 673,000 ounces, Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville with 664,191 ounces, Newmont’s Tanami with 495,000 ounces and the AngloGold Ashanti and IGO Tropicana joint venture rounded out the top five with 463,556 ounces.

“The Australian gold sector, like the larger iron ore mining industry is producing record export quantities and doing its best to boost our balance of payments,” Close said.

“With production and employment in the mining industry strong, the various resultant taxes are a real boost for Australia in these difficult economic times and Western Australia is receiving record royalty payments too.”

Spot gold prices hit a record on August 6, reaching $US2067 per ounce and Australian gold prices also reached an all-time high of $2868 per ounce on the same day.

Volatility remains however, as less than a week later gold prices fell by more than $US100 per ounce in one day.

“As usual, whenever gold prices rise appreciably, forecasts begin to appear and recently prices of $US3000 or even $US4000 per ounce have been bandied about,” Close said.

“These ‘forecasts’ are no more than guesses or perhaps, hopes. I have said it often and shall say it again – no one can really predict the future.”

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