Australia to top China as gold producer

The Cadia site. Image: Newcrest Mining.

Australia is set to overtake China as one of the world’s largest gold producers by the end of the decade, driving growth alongside Russia and Canada, according to Fitch Solutions.

Fitch Solutions predicted a lift in Australia’s gold output from 10.9 million ounces this year to 13.3 million ounces by 2029, averaging 2.3 per cent annual growth.

Australia was also ranked second after Canada in respect to the number of new projects and mine expansions.

The country experienced a notable upsurge in gold production, reaching an all-time record of 325 tonnes (11.46 million ounces) last year and a record quarterly output of 87 tonnes in the December period, according to Surbiton Associates.

The consulting group recognised Newcrest Mining’s Cadia mine in New South Wales as Australia’s largest gold producer in 2019, with an output of 871,246 ounces for the full year.

Newcrest is expanding the Cadia operations to push its initial plant capacity to 33 million tonnes a year before climbing to 35 million tonnes a year.

China’s gold production, meanwhile, was forecast to remain roughly stagnant during the next decade.

The country could experience a projected average growth rate of 0.1 per cent a year, marking a notable slowdown compared with the average annual growth of 2.7 per cent over the previous decade.

“Chinese gold output has been challenged by strict environmental regulations and closures of smaller mines, and failing ore grades in general,” Fitch Solutions stated.

“Nonetheless, the country will remain the largest global producer of gold ore by a significant margin.”

The analyst firm expected Russia to overtake China as the largest gold miner, with an accelerating output growth underpinned by a buoyed domestic demand.

The country’s output was forecast to climb from 11.3 million ounces this year to 15.5 million ounces in 2029, representing an average annual growth of 3.7 per cent.

“In the longer term, we expect (Russian) gold production to be supported by a healthy project pipeline,” Fitch Solutions stated.

“This would see Russia overtake China as the largest gold miner, accounting for 11.7 per cent of global output by 2029, compared to 10.4 per cent in 2020.”

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