Australian gold AISC on the rise

AVERAGE all-in sustaining costs in the Australian gold sector have risen by 12% over the past 12 months, according to data from Aurum Analytics.
Australian gold AISC on the rise Australian gold AISC on the rise Australian gold AISC on the rise Australian gold AISC on the rise Australian gold AISC on the rise

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The average AISC for gold mines in Australia and New Zealand in the September quarter was A$1335 an ounce, up from $1189/oz for the same period of 2018.

It was also a 4.7% or $60/oz increase over the June quarter.

Glencore and Evolution Mining's Ernest Henry copper-gold mine in Queensland was the lowest-cost producer with AISC of negative $414/oz, followed by Newcrest Mining's Cadia gold-copper operation in New South Wales with AISC of $306/oz.

The third-lowest cost mine and lowest-cost gold-only producer was Kirkland Lake Gold's Fosterville mine in Victoria with AISC of $421/oz.

The fourth-lowest cost producer and lowest for Western Australia was Saracen Mineral Holdings' Thunderbox mine with AISC of $682/oz.

Rounding out the top five was Aurelia Metals' Peak mine ($764/oz) in NSW.

There were five operations with AISC over $2000/oz: Newcrest's Telfer in WA ($2477/oz), Gascoyne Resources' Dalgaranga in WA ($2121/oz), AngloGold Ashanti's Sunrise Dam in WA ($2105/oz), Resolute Mining's Ravenswood in Queensland ($2072/oz) and Millennium Minerals' Nullagine in WA ($2068/oz).

Cadia was the biggest gold producer for the quarter, with output of 171,730 ounces, followed by Newmont Goldcorp's Boddington in WA (167,000oz), Fosterville (158,327oz), AngloGold and Independence Group's Tropicana in WA (123,320), and Newmont/Barrick Gold's Super Pit in WA (116,000oz).

Filling the top 10 was Newmont's Tanami in the Northern Territory, Northern Star Resources' Jundee in WA, Telfer, Evolution's Cowal in NSW and Gold Fields' St Ives in WA.

While costs rose over the past year, grade was slightly higher.

The average reported head grade was up 0.3% quarter-on-quarter to 3.59 grams per tonne gold, up from 3.52gpt for the same quarter of 2018.

That comprises an average open pit grade of 1.54gpt and an average underground grade of 5.45gpt.

Fosterville continues to be Australia's highest-grade mine with a head grade of 41.8gpt gold, followed by St Barbara's Gwalia in WA with a head grade of 7.2gpt.