Australia’s Gold Output Nears 300 Tonnes A Year
Annual gold production in Australia continued its slow upward trend in 2016-17, according to Melbourne-based gold mining consultant, Surbiton Associates. Total gold production for the year 2016-17 was 299 tonnes, up almost 2.5% on the previous year. For the June quarter 2017, output was 75 tonnes, up some 5% from the rainaffected March quarter 2017.
“With almost 300 tonnes produced in 2016-17, the gold mined was worth around A$16 billion at the average spot price for the year,” said Sandra Close, a director of Surbiton Associates. “Australia is the world’s second largest gold producing country and gold is our third largest commodity export after iron ore and coal.”
However, she warned there was a real concern in the gold sector that higher royalties may be imposed which would have negative economic consequences, would undermine confidence and would discourage investment.
“The Western Australian government is once again flagging a possible increase in mineral royalties in its forthcoming state budget,” Close said. “About 70% of Australia’s gold is mined in Western Australia (WA), so the state government must think very carefully before imposing any increase in the gold royalty.”
Earlier this year, the WA Premier Mark McGowan claimed WA’s Budget position was the worst since the Great Depression due to lower tax revenues and a subdued state economy.
Close added, “Increasing financial burdens on the generators of wealth can have unintended consequences – in mining it can mean higher cost operations close, with the resultant loss of jobs and tax revenues.”