A Forgotten Gold-Rush Hub Is Producing More Than It Has in a Century – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – September 10, 2019)


Deep under gum-tree lined paddocks in southern Australia that delivered a bullion bonanza in the 19th Century, the unexpected promise of a second gold rush is luring a new generation of prospectors from billionaires to global miners and weekend panhandlers.

As prices soar, production in the goldfields of Victoria state is rising again and has already climbed to the highest since 1914 as mining companies dig deeper and new technology helps to uncover once hidden and richer deposits in a region that almost rivaled the Californian gold rush and was thought to have petered out decades ago.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in all my life — it’s like finding a safe underground,” David Baker, managing partner of gold investor Baker Steel Capital Managers LLP, and a visitor to mines for more than 30 years, said following a tour last month of Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd.’s Fosterville mine, the flagship for the region’s revival. “You don’t get better than that unless you can dig into Fort Knox.”

With Victoria’s state government forecasting there may be as much as another 80 million ounces buried underground in the region —about as much as was dug out during the initial gold rush from 1851 — major players are moving in, including Newmont Goldcorp Corp. and billionaire miner Gina Rinehart.

The region’s renaissance is also stoking hopes that new exploration of other historic global mining hubs could yet yield more riches. A thirty minute drive east of Bendigo, a city of elegant Victorian-era civic buildings built with the proceeds of the first gold rush, Kirkland has transformed its underground mine into one of the world’s most profitable gold operations.

For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-09-10/high-gold-prices-new-technology-boost-australian-production

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