REPORT: Australia Gains Control of Gold Mining Industry
Australian owned mining companies account for approximately 50 percent of gold mining operations in Australia, according to a recent report by mining consultancy Surbiton Associates.
The shift in control is contributed to foreign investors selling off their stake in Australian mines, giving local companies more control of the country’s $12-billion gold mining industry.
“When the gold boom started in the early 1980s, Australia’s control of its domestic gold mining industry was around 80 percent,” says Surbiton director Dr. Sandra Close. “However, around the turn of the new century, there was a spate of overseas takeovers when the Australian dollar was weak and Australian control fell below 30 percent.”
The tide has changed with Australia climbing back, now owning 50 percent of Australian mines.
In the past year Canada’s Alacer Gold sold two of its mining operations to Australia-based Metals X and Northern Star purchased the Jundee mine from Colorado-based Newmont Mining.
“Several of the world’s largest gold producers have switched their strategy from chasing ounces to rationalization and cost reduction. This does not always sit easily in an Australian context as, unlike many other gold producing regions, Australia’s production comes from a considerable number of smaller mines, rather than a small number of larger mines,” said Close.
For years companies have held on to these Australian operations, viewed as long-term operations, as the amount of gold output contingent on the overall production schedule.
“So it looks great on paper, but the practicalities are such that much of our gold reserves are for the very long term. For a sustainable industry, we still need production from traditional primary gold deposits, and ongoing exploration is as vital today as it ever was,” Close added.
Australia is home to the world’s largest gold reserves.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.