Global gold mine
production finished 2017 fractionally higher than the previous year,
according to the World Gold Council (WGC).
Gold output reached 3268.7
tonnes (t) in 2017, an improvement on the 3263t produced at mines in
2016 and the highest annual total on WGC’s records.
“New mine starts in recent
years have mostly served to fill the gap left by production losses
elsewhere, which has led to a relative plateauing in global output”
WGC reported in its latest Gold Demand Trends report.
Gold mine production did,
however, fall by 2 per cent year-on-year to 833.1t in fourth quarter
In China, the world’s largest
producer of gold, output dropped 10 per cent during the December
quarter as stricter environmental regulations forced some marginal
mines in the country to close.
Several other jurisdictions
also saw declines during the fourth quarter, including the United
States, Brazil and Mali.
Russia and Indonesia were two
regions that delivered production increases. In Indonesia, the mining
of higher grade ore at the Grasberg mine — its largest gold operation
— helped boost fourth quarter output by 11 per cent.
WGC reported that 2017’s
total supply of gold, including net producer hedging and recycled
gold, was 4 per cent lower than 2016 at 4398.4t.
Total net de-hedging in 2017
reached 30.4t, according to WGC, bringing an end to three consecutive
years of modest net hedging. Several Australian-based companies were
influential in driving this result.
In October, Westgold
Resources increased in its short-term hedgebook of 40,000 ounces (oz)
to lock in higher local prices.
A month later, Gold Road —
which is developing the Gruyere gold joint venture in Western
Australia — entered into forward agreements that hedged 200,000oz to
secure a portion of the mine’s future output.
Also in November, Resolute
Mining agreed to hedge 72,000oz of output to fund an expansion of its
Ravenswood gold mine.