Monday, August 30, 2010
High price puts recycled mines into the bullion rush AUSTRALIA GOLD
LOCAL gold producers are matching bumper gold prices to bumper production, output for the June quarter rising to its highest level in 6½ years and topping $3 billion at spot prices.
The latest production survey by the Melbourne industry consultants Surbiton Associates, published yesterday, said June quarter output rose 11 per cent or 6.5 tonnes to 67 tonnes (2.15 million ounces) compared with the preceding March quarter.
Surbiton said the June quarter tally took output for the June year to 245 tonnes (7.87 million ounces) - an increase of 10 per cent on the 222 tonnes produced last year but still well short of the all-time record output of 318 tonnes in 1998.
A Surbiton director, Sandra Close, said the June quarter production was the highest since December 2003 and helped to turn around annual production.
Dr Close said the increase was the result of three factors. Several long-established producers significantly increased output in the quarter, there was increased production from mines in the ramp-up phase and several new and recycled operations started production.
"It's impossible to predict the future but the production outlook is positive in the near term," Dr Close said. "Some producers are still in the ramp-up phase and there are several other operations that are due to pour their first gold in the September quarter," she said.
Dr Close said that higher gold prices were one reason for the many new and recycled operations starting. Another factor was greater availability of finance after the the global financial crisis. "We are experiencing an extended period of high Australian gold prices which has led to old deposits being re-evaluated and redeveloped," she said. Between 2000 and 2005 Australian gold prices averaged about $550 an ounce but the average for the last two years was $1200 an ounce, she said.
''It's no wonder that we are seeing renewed activity in the gold sector.''
The top five mines were: the Super Pit with 200,000 ounces (Newmont/Barrick); Telfer, 188,875ounces (Newcrest); Boddington, 184,000 ounces (Newmont); Cadia Hill, 120,037 ounces (Newcrest); and St Ives, 117,479 ounces (Gold Fields).