Gold production in Australia declined slightly during the March 2010 quarter, according to research from industry consultants Surbiton Associates.
Gold output fell by 2% or 1.3 tonnes to 61 tonnes (1.96 million ounces), compared with the December quarter 2009 but was still up by 13% compared with the March quarter 2009.
Surbiton director Dr Sandra Close says, “At current prices, the gold produced in the March quarter was worth around Aus$2.8 billion.
“Australian mines produce about two-thirds of a tonne of gold each day and the March quarter is two days shorter than the December quarter, so this affects the figures. However, there were some significant differences in output from mine to mine between the two periods.”
Newmont’s giant, low-grade Boddington operation south-east of Perth continued to ramp up production, with gold output rising by one third to 158,000 ounces for the quarter.
“Boddington treated a total of 6 million tonnes of ore in the March quarter but for every ounce of gold produced it had to process 38 tonnes of ore. By comparison, the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie treated half as many tonnes but its ore is richer, so it only had to process 15 tonnes of ore to extract an ounce of gold.”
Output at Barrick’s Yilgarn South operations fell by 24,000 ounces, Newcrest’s Telfer mine produced 32,000 ounces less and production from BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine fell by more than 90% to 1650 ounces due to ore haulage problems.
Joining the list of producers were Saracen’s refurbished Carosue Dam mine in Western Australia which produced some 15,000 ounces of gold during its two-month commissioning phase and Toronto-listed Crocodile Gold Corp which contributed 13,700 ounces from Union Reefs in the Northern Territory.
The top producing gold operations for the March quarter 2010 were Newmont and Barrick Gold’s Super Pit JV with 206,000 ounces, Newmont’s Boddington with 158,000 ounces, Newcrest’s Telfer with 152,495 ounces, AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam with 114,119 ounces and Gold Fields’ St Ives with 107,448 ounces.

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