Australia is the world’s second-largest gold producer after China. In 2021, the country’s gold production is expected to rebound with 3.1% growth in 2021 against 0.5% growth in 2020, helped by the limited impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, along with the commencement of Capricorn Metal’s Karlawinda Gold mine on 30 June 2021. In August, the mine produced 9,800oz of gold and is targeting total production in 2021 of 115.4 thousand ounces (koz). In addition, the Wiluna Stage 1 expansion, which will increase gold production capacity of 120koz (versus the current capacity of 45.2koz), is expected to be operational by the end of Q4 2021.
In 2020, the country’s production grew marginally by 0.5%, over 2019. This was primarily due to lower output from Newmont, whose production fell by 20.5%, mainly due to lower ore grades milled. Production from Newcrest Mining, which is the country’s largest producer, fell by 5.6%, owing to the lower grade milled and ongoing expansion work at its Cadia mine. In addition, production from Evolution Mining declined by 8.4%, mainly due to a planned mill shutdown at Mungari mine. In contrast, production increased by 63.5% from Northern Star to 1,076.4koz in 2020, mainly as a result of a production ramp-up at the KCGM mine.
In terms of demand, China is the largest importer of Australian gold. China has maintained its position as the world’s largest gold-consuming nation since 2012. In 2021, Chinese gold jewellery demand is expected to surge by 43.1% to 18,695.2koz, compared to the previous year, mainly supported by more limited disruption from the pandemic, coupled with the strengthened Chinese economy and various consumption stimuli, which lifted local gold jewellery consumption. In April 2021, the government eased restrictions on imports and exports of gold to relax the government’s control over the precious metal trade.
Looking ahead, GlobalData anticipates Australia’s gold output to grow at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5% over the forecast period (2021–2025) to 13.7Moz in 2025. The growth will be backed by improved output from existing mines, expansions and new projects. Overall, there are 100 gold projects currently under development, of which 11 are currently undergoing construction and are expected to be operational between 2022–2025, adding a combined gold production capacity of more than 1,166koz.