Home   >   Mining Refining

  • Australia’s gold industry poised for rebound with major projects on the horizon

    Mon July 08 2024


    After momentarily securing the top position among global gold producers a couple of years ago, Australia has slipped to third place behind China and the Russian Federation.


    According to the World Gold Council (WGC), Australia produced 293.8 tonnes last year, far behind China’s 378.2t and Russia’s 321.8t. New figures from the office of Australia’s Chief Economist, however, predict Australian gold production is set to surge on the back of a number of major project expansions and new developments.


    Production increase


    The Federal Department of Industry, Science, and Resources’ June Resources and Energy Quarterly is forecasting Australian gold production to rise by 5.9% from 288t in 2023–24 to 305t in 2025–26. Production will continue to ramp up at recently-commenced projects such as Pantoro’s (ASX: PNR) Norseman project and Bellevue Gold’s (ASX: BGL) namesake gold project.


    Elsewhere, Genesis Minerals’ (ASX: GMD) 2tpa Ulysses project is under construction, with production expected to commence later in 2024. Westgold Resources’ (ASX: WGX) 1.4tpa Great Fingall project continues to be developed and is also expected to achieve first production in H2 2024.


    The report noted that Northern Star Resources’ (ASX: NST) recently expanded Thunderbox mill ramped up to reach nameplate capacity in H2 2023, resulting in a year-on-year production increase of 28% to 5.9t.

    Further expansions to the Thunderbox mill output are expected in 2024–25 as high-grade ore feed commences and mill optimisation continues.


    Tanami expansion


    While production from Newmont’s Tanami and Boddington projects is expected to decline in 2024 due to lower ore grades, the company is on track to begin increasing Tanami’s output from 2027 as its Tanami Expansion 2 project reaches completion. Northern Star’s Super Pit gold operation is scheduled to begin a long-term expansion in 2024, rising to about 20t by 2025–26.


    In 2023, Northern Star committed to a $1.5 billion mill expansion at KCGM to double processing capacity by 2029 that will lift the Super Pit’s output to 28t in 2028–29, up from 13t in 2022–23. On the new project front, early implementation activities have commenced at De Grey Mining’s (ASX: DEG) Hemi gold project, which is expected to come online in H2 2026.


    Hemi is forecast to produce 17tpa on average in its first five years of operation.


    Aurumin’s Sandstone ambitions


    A number of junior Australian miners are also contributing by bringing historic gold projects back into production. Aurumin (ASX: AUN) has the financial support to accelerate its plans at its Western Australian projects after a recent capital raise.


    Aurumin successfully completed the sale of its Mt Dimer mining leases and miscellaneous WA licences to Beacon Minerals in late December, adding $3 million in cash to its war chest.


    These funds and subsequent successful capital raisings have positioned Aurumin well to initially focus on rejuvenating the historic Central Sandstone gold project, which currently comprises an 881,300oz gold mineral resource, significant project infrastructure and an expanding tenement footprint.


    Barton Gold 0pportunities


    Barton Gold (ASX: BGD)  (OTCQB: BGDFF) has also attracted strong market support for its plans to revitalise historic gold operations – this time in South Australia. Barton recently significantly expanded its current drilling activities at the Tarcoola gold project to 9,000m after making strong progress with the initial stages of a planned 7,000m program.


    Barton is currently focused on the area of the historic Perseverance mine pit where the company received some very positive results from a target evaluation campaign earlier this year. Barton recently engaged highly regarded mining consultancy GR Engineering Services (GRES) and Mining Associates to undertake detailed scoping studies for the nearby Tunkillia project.


    Barton also plans to follow up the study with a review of all technical data to determine the forward work program required to complete a pre-feasibility study. The commencement of the Tunkillia scoping study comes after the project surpassed 1.5Moz earlier this year.


    Classic Minerals’ Swiss backing


    Classic Minerals (ASX: CLZ) has received $15.3m in financing from Swiss-based fintech startup AuResources to progress its Western Australian gold developments. The majority of the funding will support the expansion of the Kat Gap project and development of the Lady Magdalene and Lady Ada deposits at the Forrestania gold project north of Perth.


    Classic is also on target to wrap up its acquisition of the Forrestania gold tenements in WA. Total indicated resources for Kat Gap and Forrestania sit at 90,454 ounces.


    Classic also plans to process ore from the Lady Ada and Magdalene gold deposits at its Kat Gap processing plant.