More gold was mined in Australia during 2018 on an annual basis than ever before, according to analyst Surbiton Associates, with indications production across the country is still on the increase.
A record 317 tonnes of gold was dug up last year, exceeding the previous high of 314.5 tonnes reached in 1997, according to the Melbourne-based mining consultancy.
“It took 21 years to break the old calendar year record and the outlook for the near term looks positive but of course there can always be surprises,” Surbiton Associates director Sandra Close said.
The largest producer in 2018 was Newcrest’s NSW Cadia Valley mine, located 250km west of Sydney, which extracted 750,000 ounces of the yellow metal while Newcrest’s West Australian operation in Boddington followed with 710,000 ounces.
Dr Close said gold production totalled 81 tonnes in the December 2018 quarter, the third consecutive quarter where it exceeded 80 tonnes, following a lower output of 74 tonnes in the first quarter “due to wet weather and production problems at some operations”.
Gold Fields and Gold Road’s Gruyere joint venture in Western Australia is expected to start mid-year, Dr Close added, with production scheduled to ramp up to about 300,000 ounces, or 10 tonnes, annually at full capacity.
“Not only did we have record gold production for the 2018 year and near record quarterly production but the gold price in Australian dollars also hit an all-time record of $A1,876 per ounce on 20 February this year,” she said.
Spot gold was trading at $US1,293.19 on Monday morning.