Australia is the second largest producer of gold in the world, producing 314.9 tonnes in 2018.
Just under $280 million in gold royalties was provided to the WA Government in 2018.
Australia is estimated to have the world’s largest gold reserves, with 9,500 tonnes (17 per cent) of total global reserves. Geoscience Australia estimates 60 per cent of Australia’s reserves are in Western Australia.
Thanks to medicine, the expression ‘heart of gold’ is a literal reality, with some pacemakers coated in gold. Why gold? Well, gold is non-reactive and highly reliable in electronic equipment and life-support devices.
There are currently 66 gold mines operating in Australia, including 14 of the world’s largest, 11 of which are in Western Australia. This makes WA the country’s major gold producer, accounting for almost 70 per cent of Australia’s total production. The top ten gold projects in WA accounted for 58 per cent of the State’s total production.
Gold Mines In WA
The gold sector is WA’s second most valuable mineral commodity. Sales volumes increased for the third consecutive year, reaching a record 212 tonnes in 2017–18. Increased volumes, combined with some improvement in prices, delivered a 5 per cent increase in the production value of the sector, from $10.9 to $11.4 billion in 2017–18.
Future gold production is heavily reliant on exploration – an extremely costly and high-risk exercise, requiring numerous lengthy approval processes before companies even start construction.
There have been no major gold deposit discoveries in Australia for a number of years and there is little new supply in the pipeline to replace diminishing reserves. The delay between discovery and development for a new gold mine is 13 years, which is why WA’s gold sector continues to invest a significant amount of funds into exploration. Between 2016-2018, its investment in exploration totalled more than $1.6 billion.
*Sources: World Gold Council, DMIRS.