Australian gold production fell by nine tonnes for a total of 74 for the March quarter, down 11 per cent on the previous period, according to gold consultants Surbiton Associates.
The output was worth $5.5 billion at the quarter’s average gold price and Surbiton director Sandra Close said the drop was nothing to worry about.
“While gold output for the quarter was down considerably, this is no cause for concern,” Close said.
“Production was about three tonnes or four per cent less than the corresponding March 2020 quarter and such variations are not uncommon.”
Surbiton said while the period was usually victim to cyclonic weather in northern Australia, this had less of an impact than other years.
Close said China’s gold production was more noteworthy, as the world leader produced 74.44 tonnes of gold for the March quarter.
“Chinese production figures need to be treated with caution,” Close said.
“Australia may even be on the way to overtaking China as the world’s largest gold producer, but it is far too early to draw any real conclusions.”
In Australia, Kirkland Gold’s Fosterville mine in Victoria fell from third to fifth on the country’s list of largest gold producers, with a decline of 55,000 ounces on the last quarter.
Retaining top spot was Newcrest Mining’s Cadia East mine with 179,546 ounces of gold for the quarter.
Close said while some larger mines fell, other up-and-coming operations will look to challenge them over the next few years.
“Fosterville, Tropicana and Boddington together accounted for a reduction in output of 116,000 ounces, or 3.6 tonnes of gold, which was more than one third of the total reduction for the March 2021 quarter,” Close said.
“Novo and Ora Banda will increase output as they ramp up to full capacity over the next few months.
“Also, Capricorn Metals’ Karlawinda is due to start up mid-year and Wiluna Mines’ expansion project is underway.”
Close had no worries for the future of Australian gold, as prices and expenditure in exploration have uplifted the sector significantly.
“Thanks to higher gold prices in the last couple of years, the gold sector has continued to raise considerable capital and there is a tremendous amount of exploration going on, with excellent results being reported,” Close said.
“The chances of Australia’s gold output declining sharply in the next few years is unlikely.”
Australia’s largest gold producers for the March 2021 quarter were:
Cadia East 179,546 Newcrest Mining Ltd
Boddington 152,000 Newmont Inc.
Tanami 117,000 Newmont Inc.
Super Pit 111,278 Northern Star Resources Ltd
Fosterville 108,679 Kirkland Lake Gold Inc.