Record gold output prospect | The West Australian
Australian gold production could climb to new record levels in the next two years as new production comes online.
The prediction comes from Melbourne-based gold analysts Surbiton Associates, whose quarterly review of gold production released yesterday showed 9.7 million ounces of gold were produced in the country last year, the highest level since 1999.
At 301 tonnes last year, expansions at existing mines and new developments in the northern Goldfields could see Australia’s annual gold output touch the 314-tonne mark set in 1997.
Dacian’s 200,000-ounce-a-year Mt Morgans mine near Laverton and the 270,000ozpa Gruyere joint venture 200km east of the northern Goldfields town should log close to full production from this year and next respectively.
Gascoyne Resources’ Dalgaranga mine near Mount Magnet and Kin Mining’s Leonora gold project are also expected to enter production this year, with a combined annual output of about 150,000ozpa.
Surbiton Associates director Sandra Close noted major mining operations — including Newcrest’s Cadia, the Super Pit and AngloGold Ashanti’s Tropicana — boosted gold production in the December quarter.
Dr Close said smaller producers and the rate at which new mid-tier projects were coming online also provided strong support for expectations the country’s gold output was poised to climb, supported by gold prices that have remained buoyant for the past two years.
“Given the number of projects coming on stream and with few closures anticipated, it would not be surprising to see another 20 tonnes of production added to Australia’s annual output,” Dr Close said.
“This suggests that Australia’s all-time record annual gold production of 314 tonnes recorded in 1997 might well be exceeded.”
Newmont’s Boddington mine in WA’s South West was the top performer in 2017, generating 787,000oz of gold. The Super Pit was close behind with 738,000oz of gold produced, followed by the earthquake-hit Cadia (545,869oz), Tropicana (461,000oz) and Newmont’s Tanami (419,000oz).