Australian gold miners are now expanding their gold production at a remarkable rate as established producers increased output, newly commissioned mines are ramped up and new or recycled operations come on stream.
Newcrest, Australia’s biggest mining company, is expected to post a 96% leap in underlying profit as stronger gold prices more than offset production disruptions earlier this year.
Soaring international gold prices and advancements in mining techniques have put old mines in the sights of speculators.
Gold production soared last year to its highest level since 2003 as miners capitalised on record prices.
Gold output from domestic mines in 2010 lifted by about 17 per cent or 38 tonnes to 266 tonnes or 8.5 million ounces (oz). Gold remains one of Australia’s top export earners.
Australia retained its position as the world’s second largest gold producing country in 2010.
China was number one with reported production of 341 tonnes.
Standout performers in Australia last year included Newmont Mining Corporation’s Boddington mine, south-east of Perth, where output rose by 26,000oz to its highest quarterly figure of 206,000oz.
Two recently commissioned operations, Integra Mining Ltd’s Randalls mine and Regis Resources Ltd’s Moolart Well operation, both in Western Australia, continued to ramp up production, adding another tonne to the total national output.
Miners in the north of WA had found some promising results, including Beadell Resources’s Tropicana East Project 350km north-east of Kalgoorlie, and Focus Minerals Ltd planning longer-term projects in Coolgardie.
Gold mining can create local jobs and infrastructure
With the price of gold in excess of $1,800 an ounce, driven by a weak dollar and unrelenting demand from China and India, and no new major gold deposits seemingly available, analysts are predicting that miners with marginal deposits may re-start production.
Less and less of the exploration dollar is being spent in Australia and more is being spent overseas – this may well have a negative impact in the longer term.
We can’t afford to be complacent, continued exploration is essential to ensure the long-term viability of the industry.
Modern mining can create local jobs and encourage infrastructure spending.