SYDNEY (Reuters) – Canada-based Kirkland Lake Gold will list its shares on the Australia bourse on Thursday after investing millions of dollars and joining dozens of other prospectors in a modern-day gold rush.
Kirkland Lake expects to produce a quarter-million ounces of gold in 2017 from a mine it bought a year ago in eastern Australia and is also dipping a toe into a tantalizing new gold region on the other side of the continent. More than 25 publicly-listed companies and legions of small prospectors are exploring for gold on the western fringe of Australia in an area known as the Pilbara, better regarded for iron ore.
The target is gold occurring in clusters of pebbles and which investors such as Kirkland are betting will compare in size with South Africa’s massive Witwatersrand Basin, where more than a third of the world’s gold has been mined.
People have made fortunes mining iron ore in the Pilbara, including Gina Rinehart, the world’s richest woman, according to Forbes. But until now no-one’s much looked for gold.
However, in the past year a record 1,896 gold prospecting licenses were granted by the Western Australia Department of Mines, many for individual prospectors known as “detectorists” trying their luck.