Australia is known for its rugged terrain, which makes exploration difficult resulting in only 20% of its total landmass being explored. This makes it so impressive that the country managed to become the second largest gold producer in the world, second only to China.
The Department of Industry and Science states that Australia was responsible for more than 272 tonnes of gold produced in the year of 2014 to 2015, and in the year 1997 to 98 was responsible for the historic high of 306 tonnes of gold produced.
Most of the gold in the country comes from the Australian states, with the largest part of the production coming from Western Australia (69%), followed by New South Wales (12%), Queensland (6%), and the rest from the Northern Territory. Australia is at the moment very closely associated with gold production, even though majority of their gold operations are only drawing from two or more deposits in the country.
Some of the mines are not even primarily gold mines, but only produce the metal as a byproduct of their processing of other commodities. Some examples of these accidental gold producers include the base metal deposits in Rosebery (Tasmania), the Olympic Dam, and the Prominent Hill in South Australia. All three mines are focusing more on polymetallic base metal, but also take advantage of the gold being produced during processing.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) posits that Australia has a staggering 9,800 tonnes of gold in reserve as of 2014, which is currently the highest of any country in the world, making up 18% of all the gold reserves in the planet. The second and third largest don’t even come close, with South Africa only being accounted for 6,000 tonnes, while Russia is even further down at 5,000 tonnes.
Most of Australia’s gold reserves are said to be contained in 15 deposits, mostly around South Australia, New South Wales, and Western Australia. As for how long they can manage their impressive production of gold, the USGS estimates that Australia will still be at the 2nd spot for 36 more years, barring drastic changes in other countries’ gold production. Australia’s share of gold production has already seen a decline over the past ten years, but their share of global gold reserves only show an upward trend. And going back to the point about the country’s land mass being largely unexplored, increased exploration may yield even more gold deposits.