Gold prices hitting record highs for some time now, buoyed by investor anxiety over the global financial pandemonium. Nevertheless, some Australian gold miners remained cautious to jump on the bandwagon of increasing the production of the precious metal, causing Australia's total gold production to fall 2.4 per cent from the previous quarter.
Australia's total production of the yellow metal for the year's third quarter came up at only 66 metric tonnes, or 2.1 million troy ounces, according to a survey by Melbourne-based Surbiton. It was 1.5 metric tonnes less from the previous quarter and also 1.5 metric tonnes less from a year ago.
The current figures translated to some $3.5 billion at current prices.
Prices of spot gold has risen by far around 17 per cent this year. It hit a record high of $1,920.20 an ounce in early September before sliding by more than $300. Current prices maintain at around $1,685 an ounce on the average.
"The gold price, although volatile, has remained relatively strong in both US- and Australian-dollar terms since the end of the quarter," Sandra Close, Surbiton analyst, said.
Close noted some Australian gold producers, ignoring the exorbitant gold prices, preferred to mine slightly lower-grade gold ore to preserve the richer ore in case prices tumble.
"Although this leads to lower production, it allows a more effective use of gold resources," Close said.
To date, Australia maintained its ranking as 2 nd gold producing miner next to China. The world's second economy produced 226.39 tonnes of the yellow metal in the first eight months of the year, Reuters reported, translating to an annual output of at least 340 metric tonnes.
Precious metals research group GFMS recently announced that South Africa, previously sector leader of global gold production, had slid to fifth place in the list of gold-producing nations. The United States and Russia, meanwhile, continue to scout locations for higher yields.
In the September quarter Surbiton survey, the three biggest gold-producing mines in the period included Newmont/Barrick's Super Pit at 192,000 ounces, Newmont's Boddington at 166,000 ounces and Newcrest's Telfer at 137,229 ounces.
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