Pedal to metal at booming Australian gold mines – by Ben Harvey (The West Australian – November 25, 2018)

Australia’s latest gold rush has maintained its momentum, with the 81 tonnes produced in the three months to the end of September just a few thousand ounces shy of the previous quarter.

Analysis by mining consultants Surbiton Associates shows the quarter’s production was six tonnes more than a year ago, pushing Australia’s annual output comfortably above 300 tonnes and earning export income of $16 billion. China remains the world’s most prolific gold miner, accounting for 440 tonnes last year.

“Overall, (Australian) production is remarkably stable, despite the ups and downs at individual operations,” Surbiton director Sandra Close said. “If gold output is maintained at current levels in the December quarter, output for the full calendar year 2018 will remain at a near-record level.

Dr Close attributed the steady gold production to relatively stable Australian gold prices, to improved output from existing operations and to junior companies mining small gold deposits and selling their ore to the larger companies with spare treatment capacity or having their ore toll treated.

“Many treatment plants are running at close to, or above capacity. Certainly we might lose some production due to mine closures in the next few years but there are other big and small projects coming along that should enable Australian gold output to be maintained and perhaps increased.”

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