Gold Giant Australia Is Firing Back Up a Record Exploration Boom – by Sybilla Gross and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – May 25, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Gold miners in Australia — set to leapfrog China next year to become the top producer — are resuming a pandemic-disrupted exploration spree as prices surge amid a dearth of major discoveries.

“Gold does really well in volatile times, so my sense of this is we’re on the cusp of a fairly major boom,” said Rob Bills, chief executive officer of Emmerson Resources Ltd., which plans to restart exploration drilling this week as the nation continues to ease Covid-19-related curbs. “Those companies that have got cash will turn the tap on fairly quickly.”

Spending on gold exploration in Australia rose to a new record in the final quarter of 2019, while the annual total of more than A$1 billion ($656 million) was about 20% higher than the previous year, according to government estimates.

It’s much needed as there have been no major global gold discoveries in the past three years and only 25 in the last decade, S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a report this month.

Gold explorers are eager to restore activity amid forecasts the metal will trade higher for the next several years, even while other industries, and some large metals producers, have announced plans to trim capital expenditure amid caution over the pace of a post-virus recovery.

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