Australia 2nd-largest gold producer, but reserves running out

By Christopher Galbraith | April 30, 2018

With its position as a large producer, Australia is also a top destination for exploration spending, but can the current level and focus of exploration sustain Australia's aging gold sector?

gold mining sector

Australia is the second-largest gold-producing country behind China, a position it has held since 2009. In 2018, Australia produced just over 10.0 million ounces, the highest amount since 1993. We identified 2018 production from 73 mines and/or mining complexes, of which 46 are located in Western Australia and accounted for more than 70% of the country's gold production for the year.

Global gold production has been climbing every year since 2009. Australia's trajectory has had some year-over-year bumps but has also been increasing over the same period. In 2019, Australia's gold production is projected to increase again year over year, by 7% — more than the world average projected increase of 2%. However, while global gold production is projected to shrink by 5% from 2019 to 2024, Australia's production will fall by 35% to 40% during the same period.

Australia's gold mines are running low on reserves. With just over 90 million ounces in reserves at its mines, at the current production rate of 10 Moz per year Australia has fewer than 10 years of production remaining.

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