Copper Up, Iron Down, Grasberg Out: Rio Releases Q3 Results

Rio Tinto has released its Q3 production results, detailing declines in production among most commodities except copper, which has been boosted by higher grades in Utah.

Global diversified miner Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) has released its Q3 production results, revealing a mixed bag of numbers for the company.

The backbone of Rio’s operations — its Western Australia iron ore production — was down 3 percent on Q2 and 3 percent year-on-year to 82.5 million tonnes, while iron ore shipments were down 7 percent since Q2 and 5 percent year-on-year.

Rio said the lower numbers were “due to planned maintenance cycles and safety pauses across all operations” due to a fatality at the Paraburdoo iron ore mine in August. It is now under investigation.

Even so, annual guidance remains unchanged for the company’s iron ore operations, with shipments “expected to be at the upper end of the existing guidance range” of between 330 and 340 million tonnes.

Looking ahead, the company said that work is progressing on its sustaining projects, Western Angelas deposits C and D and the Robe Valley project, with construction due to commence in 2019. It also said a feasibility study into the Koodaideri project is underway.

Staying in the Pilbara, the company revealed that its automated train system is trundling along nicely in the ramp-up stage, with automated operations up to an average of 34 trains per day, accounting for 45 percent of daily kilometers covered by Rio Tinto trains.

Elsewhere in operations, bauxite production was down, while aluminum production was up on Q2, but down year-on-year.

Bucking the trend, copper production was up a hefty 32 percent year-on-year to 159,700 tonnes — an improvement the company has credited to higher grades at its Kennecott operations in Utah.

Kennecott saw a 129-percent increase in production year-on-year to 59,100 tonnes, while Rio’s share of production from the Escondida mine in Chile was also up year-on-year by 6 percent to 87,400 tonnes.

As covered extensively this year, Rio Tinto has now divested from the Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia, which contributed zero to Q3’s production numbers as a result.

Instead of copper output, Rio got a fat paycheck of US$3.5 billion. The transaction between Rio, the Indonesian government and Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX), the former majority owner of the mine, is subject to conditions, but Rio expects the transaction to be completed by the first half of next year.

Rio Tinto’s Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX:TRQ) also released its quarterly report recently, detailing an improvement in open-pit production (up 7 percent year-on-year) and progress on underground development.

Lateral development has progressed well, construction completion schedule remains on track for 2022 and the project is expected to be completed at the $5.3 billion budget estimate,” said Turquoise Hill.

However, it also reported that it will be pushing back its estimated date for sustainable first production, which is now expected to occur by the end of Q3 2021 instead of the end of Q1 2021.

“This is a result of certain delays including, but not limited to, the completion of Shaft 2, which includes over four months of schedule contingency, and challenging ground conditions,” said the company.

When completed, the Oyu Tolgoi underground expansion is expected to produce 560,000 tonnes of copper per year — well above the operation’s current output of 140,000 to 155,000 tonnes annually.

The project continues to be dogged by local politics, however, as it is 34-percent owned by Ulaanbaatar, which has stipulated that Rio Tinto use a domestic power source for the mine — a subject that continues to cause headaches.

On the ASX, Rio Tinto was trading up 1.55 percent at AU$78.70 on Tuesday, while Turquoise Hill was down 2.35 percent in Toronto, trading at C$2.49 as of midday.

Kennecott mine, Utah. Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Featured
Global News
miner inside the access tunnel of an underground gold-copper mine
Jose Luis Stephens / Shutterstock

Copper supply is expected to increase this year, but will it be able to keep up in the long term? Experts are forecasting a major shortage in the years ahead.

Copper prices have been on the rise since last year, reaching a fresh all-time high in early March at US$10,674 per tonne, partially on the back of concerns over low inventory levels.

In the short term, demand may rise in 2022, but still come in lower than supply. Top consumer China’s growth seems to be taking a pause, and supply for the red metal is forecast to increase, supported by a recovery in mine output, expansions and new projects expected to come online later this year.

Looking longer term, the picture gets tighter — almost half of global copper supply is used in construction, but demand from sectors like electric vehicles and energy storage has increased investor interest in the base metal.

read more Show less
American west logo

Supplying High-Demand Minerals to Support Global Energy Transition



Overview

There’s no denying the transition to clean energy is already happening. We’ve seen the European Union commit to lowering its carbon footprint, US President Joe Biden sign an executive order “catalyzing” the shift to a clean energy economy, and the recent IPO of LG Energy Solution — which solidified the company as South Korea’s second most valuable company.

Supplying this exponentially growing global demand for the clean energy minerals needed to produce the components required to support this transition remains a significant challenge. Since 2010, the demand for these critical minerals has increased by 50 percent, with demand for both zinc and copper expected to double between 2021-2050. And yet, the majority of these minerals are produced in China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Russia, and Australia. If North America and Europe wish to meet their lofty goals, stable domestic production of clean energy metals like copper, lithium, cobalt is essential.

When it comes to mining, long-term success and stable operations require both the right location and favorable social and environmental factors. Nunavut and Utah are among many tier 1 mining jurisdictions that have robust opportunities for high-value mineral production. The mineral resource industry is Nunavut’s largest private sector contributor to its economy. As a result, its government has taken a pro-mining stance to help maintain its tier 1 status. Additionally, Utah enjoys a long history of mining that dates back to 1862, with thousands of active mines scattered across the state.

American West Metals (ASX:AW1) is an Australian company that focuses on the rapidly growing clean metal sector in tier 1 mining jurisdictions within North America. The company is working to support global clean energy initiatives by developing low footprint mines that can supply minerals needed for global electrification. The company’s portfolio of projects remains focused on producing copper and zinc products in Utah and Nunavut to support increasing global demand.

American West Projects

American West Metals features an all-star management team led by experienced leaders Michael Anderson, John Prineas, and Dave O’Neill, all whom have decades of combined expertise in global mine development, mineral exploration and corporate finance. The company is building the foundation for continued success in delivering economic benefits to all stakeholders and high-multiplier returns on shareholder investment. American West Metals currently has three high-value base metal projects geared toward supplying future resource needs: West Desert, Copper Warrior and Storm and Seal.

American West Metals recently started its diamond drilling efforts at West Desert under the management of an experienced in-country logistics and exploration team. Their Copper Warrior project is located close to the Lisbon Valley Copper Mine — Utah’s second largest copper mine. Meanwhile, the Storm and Seal projects have two styles of high-grade copper and zinc mineralization within the 4,145 square kilometer land package. Permits are in place and the projects are drill-ready with two drill rigs and a 35-person exploration camp on site.

American West

Drilling at West Desert. Source: Twitter

“The drilling is planned to test the West Desert resource in areas that already have some impressive zinc, copper and silver intercepts, and to confirm our assumptions that the continuity of these zones will support a range of development scenarios. The drilling will also confirm the amenability of the shallow mineralisation to open-pit mining, further adding to the development optionality at West Desert,” said American West Metals’ Managing Director, Dave O’Neill.

Company Highlights

  • American West Metals is a critical metal focused mineral exploration and mining company that offers investors exposure to high-value projects in tier 1 mineral districts in Nunavut and Utah.
  • The company has an experienced management team with decades of expertise in developing mines, mineral exploration and corporate finance.
  • The advanced stage West Desert zinc-copper-indium deposit in Utah contains an existing resource base of over 1Mt of zinc, 120Kt of copper and 1,500t of indium.
  • The Copper Warrior project is located near the second largest copper mine in Utah, with 173 mining claims covering 14 square kilometers.
  • American West Metals’ Storm and Seal projects contain two styles of high-grade copper and zinc mineralization, have all necessary permits in place, and are ready for exploration to begin on the 4,145 square kilometre land package.

Key Projects

West Desert

American West Desert

West Desert is 100 percent owned by American West Metals and is located approximately 160 kilometers southwest of Salt Lake City in west-central Utah. The project is within the prolific Sevier Orogenic Belt, which also hosts the world class Bingham copper deposit and Tintic Mineral District.

Project Highlights:

  • NI 43-101 Results: The West Desert deposit is a massive zinc-poly metallic skarn and carbonate replacement deposit (CRD) with over 59Mt Indicated and inferred resources, with a higher grade core of 16.5 million tonnes (Mt) at 6.3 percent zinc, 0.3 percent copper, 33g/t indium for 1.03 Mt zinc, 45Kt copper and 545t indium (NI 43-101, historical and foreign resource).
  • Existing Resource Foundation: West Desert has a strong existing resource foundation. Historical metallurgical test work exhibits clean concentrates and outstanding metal recoveries. The high-grade core may support a range of low footprint development scenarios.
  • Large Indium Resource: This asset has the largest known unmined indium resource in the world and American West Metals will become the first indium producer in the United States. Indium is a critical metal to the national security and economics of the United States as it’s used in decarbonization technology, semiconductor and the electronics industries. There are unusually high levels of this mineral found in the sphalerite at West Desert, and it has only been assayed in 35 percent of samples, giving huge growth potential..
  • CRD and Porphyry Mineralisation: Additional CRD mineralisation has been intersected about 1 kilometre east of the West Desert project, including 3 meters at 3.5 percent Cu, 7.65 percent Zinc (drill hole CC-43). There are numerous other high-grade intersections around the porphyry stock, which shows geological similarities to Bingham Canyon and other large porphyries in the region.
  • Exploration and Studies underway: Mining, environmental and hydrological studies are underway, infrastructure is in place and drilling will proceed in January 2022.

Copper Warrior

Copper Warrior

The Copper Warrior project is located along the Lisbon Valley Fault in the prolific Paradox Basin of southeast Utah and just 15 kilometers from the second largest copper mine in Utah — Lisbon Copper Mine. There is direct road access to the processing plant and the mine infrastructure. The project spans an area of 14 square kilometers and has 173 claims. This region has exceptional deposits of copper, vanadium, uranium and potash.

Project Highlights:

  • Stable Ownership: American West Metals has signed an option agreement to acquire all of Copper Warrior’s assets from Bronco Creek Exploration, a subsidiary of EMX Royalty Corp (TSXV:EMX).
  • Turnkey Project: This project is a turnkey asset allowing fast-tracked activities because of the well understood geology and simple processing and mining techniques
  • Ongoing Exploration: Outcroppings containing large volumes of copper, vein style and disseminated copper oxide and sulfides have been mapped across the Copper Warrior property. Sulfide and oxide mineralization in this region are typically amenable to easy low-cost leach processing. Low risk and low cost with Induced Polarization (IP) surveys and reverse circulation (RC) drilling set to go in the spring of 2022.

Storm and Seal

Storm and Seal

Storm and Seal, also known as the Nunavut projects, are in the lower Arctic Circle, close to the coast of Aston Bay on Somerset Island. This is northern Nunavut in the Polaris mineral district, with many exploration and mining projects close to the regional logistics hub Resolute Bay. The Storm and Seal project area extends 120 kilometers south from the north coast of Somerset Island and encompasses 4,145 square kilometers.

Project Highlights:

  • Signed Lease Agreement: The Nunavut projects are owned by Aston Bay Holdings (TSXV: BAY). American West Metals signed an agreement to earn 80 percent of the Storm and Seal project interest from Aston Bay. American West Metals has control of this very accessible project and its turnkey exploration projects.
  • High-Grade Copper: The Storm project is a structurally hosted high-grade copper discovery that has multiple, dense high-grade copper intersections across 15 square kilometers. Historical drill samples include 19m at 3.41percent copper from surface (ST97-02), 110m at 2.45 percent copper from surface (ST97-08), 56.3m at 3.07 percent copper from 12.2m (ST99-19) and 15m at 3.88 percent copper from 72.4m (ST99-47). There is also an unexplored sediment hosted copper system with many untested surface gossans that will add to the existing exploration endeavors.
American West

Drill core from the Storm Copper Project. Source: Twitter

  • Existing High-Grade Zinc-Silver Resources: Seal is adjacent to Storm and has an existing resource of 1Mt @ 10.24 percent zinc, 46.5 g/t silver for 103Kt of zinc and 1.5Moz silver (NI 43-101, historical and foreign resource). The deposit is open at depth and along strike. Historical intersections include;
    • 14.4m at 10.58 percent zinc, 28.7 g/t silver from 51.8m
    • 16m at 6.62 percent zinc,27.1 g/t silver from 76.6m
    • 22.3m at 23 percent zinc,5.1 g/t silver from 101.5m
    • 2.4m at 15.13 percent zinc, 91.9 g/t silver from 133.5m
    • Extensive zinc soil anomalies within the prospective stratigraphy render more drill ready targets.

Exploration-Ready: The Nunavut property and existing camp has easy access and is primed for exploration. All permits are in place and the property is drill ready with 2 drill rigs and a 35 person exploration camp on site.

Management Team

Dave O’Neill - Managing Director

Founder of American West and a major shareholder. A geologist with over 20 years experience in the resources sector gained in Australia and internationally. Dave has expertise in base metals and gold exploration as well as business development gained in senior roles with Anglogold, WMC, BHP and Western Areas. He has managed remote grass roots exploration to large resource delineation and mining projects in Australia, Europe, North America and Russia. Dave has a track record of successful exploration and was a leading team member for the discovery of the Succoth (Cu), Yappsu (Ni) and Cathedrals (Ni) deposits in Western Australia. Dave holds a BSc. (Honours in Geology) from the University of Technology, Sydney and is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

John Prineas - Non-executive Chairman

Founder of American West and a major shareholder. John is also the founder and Executive Chairman of St George Mining Limited (ASX: SGQ), a successful explorer and emerging nickel company in Australia. Prior to starting St George in 2010, John spent 20 years in the banking and legal sectors, including the role of Country Head Australia for Dresdner Bank AG (now Commerzbank AG) with a focus on project and acquisition finance for resources and infrastructure projects. John has worked on funding arrangements and growth strategies for a range of mining companies, from global majors to junior explorers. John holds a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney and is a Fellow of Financial Services Institute of Australasia. John is also a director of BMG Resources Limited (ASX: BMG).

Michael Anderson - Non-executive Director

Dr Michael Anderson has extensive technical experience as well as substantial business development experience built up over a 30-year career. Michael is currently the Managing Director of Firefinch Limited (ASX: FFX) which has major gold and lithium projects in Mali, Africa. Previously, as a Director at Taurus Funds Management in Australia, he managed the fund’s investment in precious and base metals projects in a number of continents. Prior to that, Michael was the Managing Director of Exco Resources in Australia where he led the development of the White Dam Gold Mine and the advancement of resource development, feasibility studies and approvals for the Cloncurry Copper Project ahead of its sale to Xstrata. Dr Anderson holds a BSc. (1st Class Honours in Mining Geology) and a PhD in Mining Geology, both from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, University of London.

Rocky Pray - VP Operations

Rocky Pray has more than 30 years of engineering and project development focused on mining projects across several jurisdictions in the USA and abroad, including 12 years with Newmont Mining where he served as Project Study Director, Project Manager, and Consulting Mine Engineer. Rocky has a successful track record directing teams to safely build new mines, and expand existing mines on schedule and under budget. Rocky is a senior mining professional with expertise in pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, Federal and State permitting, environmental management mine operations, project engineering and construction. He is registered with the US Society of Mining Engineers and holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Geological Engineer) from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Related Articles Around the Web
AW1:AU

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation  is pleased to announce positive results from 48 drill holes, totaling 7,936 metres, drilled on the C6, C1 and C2 targets at its Cameron Copper Project as part of ongoing exploration at the property.  The drill program encountered intercepts of high-grade mineralization, within long, low-grade mineralized envelopes, with lateral continuity between intercepts of up to 1 kilometre. …

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (TSX: CMMC) (ASX: C6C) (the “Company” or “Copper Mountain”) is pleased to announce positive results from 48 drill holes, totaling 7,936 metres, drilled on the C6, C1 and C2 targets at its Cameron Copper Project (“Cameron”), as part of ongoing exploration at the property. The drill program encountered intercepts of high-grade mineralization, within long, low-grade mineralized envelopes, with lateral continuity between intercepts of up to 1 kilometre. The Company plans to carry out further drilling that will also include new undrilled targets with significant copper-gold anomalies in surface soil and rock samples. Cameron is situated 40 kilometres south of the Company’s Eva Copper Project (“Eva”), located in the Mount Isa region of Queensland, Australia near Cloncurry. See Appendix 1 for a regional location map. View PDF

read more Show less
kangaroo crossing road
Sabel Blanco / Pexels

Copper hit a record high in 2021, boosting copper companies even into 2022. Here are the best copper stocks on the ASX so far this year.

The copper price hit a record high in 2021, and analysts expect prices for the red metal to remain high. This strong copper market has been a boon for ASX copper stocks.

Copper prices rallied to above US$10,700 per tonne during the second quarter of last year on higher demand as the economy began opening back up following strict COVID-19 restrictions.

Although the copper outlook is tainted by a slowing real estate sector in China, demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy is expected to boost copper use in China and globally in 2022.


Several Australian copper stocks are performing well in this copper price environment.

Here the Investing News Network looks at the best ASX copper stocks of 2022 by year-to-date share price performance. The best ASX copper stocks list below was generated on February 9, 2022, using TradingView’s stock screener, and all copper stocks listed had market caps above AU$30 million at that time.

1. Alara Resources

Year-to-date gain: 233.33 percent; current share price: AU$0.08

First on this list of best ASX copper stocks is base and precious metals explorer and developer Alara Resources (ASX:AUQ). The company has projects in the Middle East, including the Al Washi-hi Majaza copper-gold project in Oman and the Khnaiguiyah zinc-copper project in Saudi Arabia.

Alara owns a 51 percent equity interest in Al Washi-hi Majaza, where initial mining activities, including pre-stripping of waste, began in early February. Ore mining is expected to start at the asset in the June quarter, with consistent ore recovery following toward the end of the year.

2. Critical Resources

Year-to-date gain: 189.47 percent; current share price: AU$0.11

Base metals-focused Critical Resources (ASX:CRR) has properties in Oman and Australia. The company's Sohar copper project in Oman has a JORC resource of 819,000 tonnes at 3.4 percent copper, equivalent to 28,000 tonnes of copper metal, and zinc and other base metals were historically mined at its Halls Peak project in New South Wales. Aside from those assets, Critical Resources holds lithium projects in Canada.

In early February, Critical Resources reported zinc, copper, lead and silver assay results from two extensional holes completed at Halls Peak's Gibsons prospect.

3. Cannindah Resources

Year-to-date gain: 82.35 percent; current share price: AU$0.31

With a focus on copper and gold, Cannindah Resources (ASX:CAE) is reviewing strategies for its New South Wales-based Mount Cannindah project, which holds a large porphyry-style copper-molybdenum-gold mineralised system. The company is also looking to move forward with exploration at its Piccadilly gold project in Queensland.

In late January, Cannindah Resources shared results from a vertical hole in the northern part of Mount Cannindah. Results include 81 metres at 0.3 percent copper, 0.6 grams per tonne gold and 22.5 grams per tonne silver.

4. Celsius Resources

Year-to-date gain: 50 percent; current share price: AU$0.03

Exploration and development company Celsius Resources (ASX:CLA) has a portfolio of copper and gold assets located in the Philippines, Namibia and Australia.

At its Maalinao-Caigutan-Biyog copper-gold project in the Philippines, the company completed a positive scoping study in December 2021 showing a 25 year mine life, a payback period of 2.7 years and a pre-tax internal rate of return of 35 percent. Drilling is also underway at Celsius’ other Philippines property, the Sagay copper-gold project.

5. Bougainville Copper

Year-to-date gain: 29.51 percent; current share price: AU$0.395

Bougainville Copper (ASX:BOC) states that its main goal is to work with communities in Papua New Guinea and the country's government to resume copper, gold and silver mining and exploration at the Panguna mine.

Panguna has been inactive since 1989, and while it was important to the nation's economy it has also been a source of controversy. There hasn't been any news from the company so far in 2022.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation will be hosting a conference call on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 7:30 am for senior management to discuss its third quarter 2021 results. The Company will be releasing its third quarter 2021 financial and operating results before markets open on Monday, November 1, 2021 . Dial-in information: Toronto and international: 1 764 8650 North America : 1 664 6383 Webcast: Replay …

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (TSX: CMMC) (ASX: C6C) (the “Company” or “Copper Mountain”) will be hosting a conference call on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 7:30 am (Pacific Time) for senior management to discuss its third quarter 2021 results. The Company will be releasing its third quarter 2021 financial and operating results before markets open on Monday, November 1, 2021 .

Dial-in information:
Toronto and international: 1 (416) 764 8650
North America (toll-free): 1 (888) 664 6383
Webcast: https://produceredition.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1501080&tp_key=fd3437f8d3

read more Show less
American West Metals
American West Metals
American West Metals



American West Metals Limited (American West or the Company) (ASX: AW1) is pleased to announce the assay results for the third diamond drill hole completed at the West Desert Project in Utah (West Desert or the Project).

  • A very wide intercept of zinc, copper, gold and indium mineralisation has been intersected near surface in metallurgical drill hole WD22-02, the third drill to be completed by American West at the West Desert Project
  • Assays confirm a thick high-grade interval from 74.54m:
    • 11.44m @ 6.46% Zn, 0.17% Cu, 0.22g/t Au, 90.73g/t In from 74.54.m, including;
      • 7.17m @ 8.57% Zn, 0.26% Cu, 0.33g/t Au, 77.48g/t In from 74.54m
  • The high-grade interval is located within a wider zone of 35.52m @ 3.2% Zn, 0.17% Cu, 0.15g/t Au, 16.43g/t Ag and 52.66g/t In from 74.54m
  • The assays will be used for metallurgical test work and resource estimation for a potential openpit mining scenario
  • Diamond drilling continues at West Desert with more assay results expected in the comingweeks

Drill hole WD22-02 was designed for metallurgical testing of the near surface ore lenses and was drilled to a downhole depth of 233.8m.

WD22-02 intersected a very thick interval of zinc, copper, gold and indium mineralisation beginning at approximately 60 vertical metres from surface. The mineralisation is variably weathered and consists of oxide and transitional classified ores. The drill hole confirms the continuity near surface of the Main Zone of the West Desert Deposit and is supportive of the potential for an open pit development scenario.

Historical metallurgical test work on the oxidised zinc and copper mineralisation has produced highly encouraging results with traditional processing methods and with high recoveries of zinc, copper and indium from this near surface mineralisation.

Dave O’Neill, Managing Director of American West Metals commented:

“We are very pleased to receive strong assay results for WD22-02, and these will used to support the metallurgical program.

“The drill hole has intersected thick zinc, copper and indium mineralisation near surface. The interval is particularly enriched in Indium, a critical metal and important credit within our zinc concentrate, with grades up to 237g/t In.

“The drill hole confirms the upper extensions of very thick mineralisation encountered in the first two drill holes completed by American West, and highlights the potential for an open pit operation.

“We are looking forward to reporting on the results for the remaining drill holes in the coming weeks.”


Figure 1: Schematic geological section at 288850E showing main geological units and drilling. The zinc and copper dominant mineralisation intersected in WD22-02 is shown as well as recent intersections encountered along this section (light blue text boxes).

Click here for the full ASX Release

This article includes content from American West Metals (ASX: AW1), licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.

AW1:AU

Interested in gold in Australia? Here's a brief overview of what investors should know about where the yellow metal is found in the country.

With gold in focus due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, some experts are expecting its price to reach all-time highs as investors seek traditionally safe-haven investments.

If you’re interested in investing in gold right now, you may want to turn your attention to Australia, which is currently the second largest gold-producing country in the world.

Read on for a breakdown of gold in Australia, including a look at how each state and territory contributes.


Gold in Australia: Australia's place in the world

As mentioned, Australia is currently the second largest gold-producing country globally, just behind China. Gold production in the country reached a high of 330 tonnes in 2021, up from 328 tonnes the previous year.

“There are three countries that combine the rule of law with significant gold production: Canada, the US and Australia. Outside of these three, there’s not much gold, or there’s not much protection for individual investors and companies,” Kevin McElligott, managing director of Australia at Franco-Nevada (TSX:FNV,NYSE:FNV), explained to the Investing News Network in a 2019 email interview.

According to the Office of the Chief Economist, Australian gold mine production is forecast to rise at an average annual rate of 8 percent from 2020 to 2021 and 2022 to 2023. Anticipated production of 374 tonnes by 2022 to 2023 will be propelled by both production from new mines and existing mine expansions.

Western Australia is the centre of gold exploration activity in the country, accounting for 70 percent, or AU$1.07 billion, of total gold exploration expenditure. In 2022, the Fraser Institute named Western Australia the best mining jurisdiction in the world. Its Pilbara region is a big part of why the state is attracting attention.

In recent years, Pilbara exploration activity has seen renewed interest and helped increase the country’s consistent gold output. Covering more than half a million square kilometres, the region has attracted major miners like Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BHP).

Western Australia accounts for the bulk of the country's gold output, and the geology of the Pilbara Craton has been compared to South Africa’s Kaapvaal Craton and Witwatersrand Basin. Witwatersrand is home to the Earth’s largest known gold reserves and is responsible for over 40 percent of worldwide gold production.

Both the Pilbara and Witwatersrand are similar in age and composition, sitting on top of the Archean granite-greenstone basement. The Pilbara area hosts numerous small mesothermal gold deposits containing conglomerate gold — mineralization known to hold large, high-grade gold nuggets.

Gold in Australia: Production by region

Click through the links below to learn more about gold mining in Australia's states and territories. The data used is from Geoscience Australia, and the 2018 gold production numbers are the latest available.

Gold in Australia: Western Australia

As mentioned, Western Australia is a gold powerhouse, and its output stands well above that of its fellow Australian states and territories, measuring at 211 tonnes in 2018.

Gold in Australia: New South Wales

New South Wales has a long history with gold, being the home of the first Australian gold rush in the mid-1800s, which helped kickstart the then-colony’s burgeoning economy. Gold found in Central New South Wales triggered an obsession with mining that burned for decades. In 2018, the state's production was 39 tonnes.

Gold in Australia: Queensland

Queensland may be best known for its coal exports, but the state is dotted with active mines, with a modest collection that produce gold. It put out 18 tonnes of the yellow metal in 2018.

Gold in Australia: Northern Territory

The Northern Territory produced only 15 tonnes of gold in 2018, but over its lifetime more than 20 million ounces have been pulled out of the ground in the region. The Pine Creek, Tennant Creek and Tanami goldfields are the primarily places where this metal has been extracted.

Gold in Australia: Victoria

Victoria also has a strong gold-mining history, although today it's a smaller-scale producer. In 2018, 13 of the 315 tonnes of gold mined in Australia came from Victoria from seven active mines — most of which are located within regions known for vast historical output of the yellow metal

Gold in Australia: South Australia

South Australia isn't a major gold miner, although it accounts for over a quarter of the country’s gold resources — in 2018, just 8 tonnes of gold were mined in the state. However, the area has potential, with a major geological region — the Gawler Craton — identified by the government and mineral explorers as being of extreme interest.

Gold in Australia: Tasmania

Tasmania is geologically diverse with a number of major operating mines, but it is not a significant gold producer. Its output of the precious metal clocked in at only 1 tonne in 2018.

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2019.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Matthew Flood, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

hydrogen symbol with globe

Wondering about the future of hydrogen in Australia? Here's an overview of investing in hydrogen in the country.

Hydrogen has long been touted as the most important clean energy source of the future. However, 99 percent of hydrogen produced today is derived from power generated by coal or gas.

Thanks to technological advances and massive new investments made by the public and private sector, the industry is now making the critical transition towards clean "green" hydrogen — in other words, hydrogen that is produced via zero-carbon and low-carbon energy sources.

Australia, like most western nations, is determined to decarbonise its economy as part of the global transition toward renewables. Many industries now face strict targets for reducing emissions as part of the drive to lessen the carbon footprint left by Australia's steel and coal industries.


Although hydrogen is generally seen as a long-term investment play given the many years it takes to build new plants and add capacity in the market, last year saw investors rush to get in on the ground floor of the rapidly expanding Australian green energy market as smaller players began to make their mark.

In 2021, the ASX hydrogen sector saw some exponential gains in the share prices of several up-and-coming players, including Province Resources (ASX:PRL), Pure Hydrogen (ASX:PH2), Sparc Technologies (ASX:SPN), Environmental Clean Technologies (ASX:ECT) and QEM (ASX:QEM). These five companies led the way in driving interest in the kind of opportunity that the Australian hydrogen industry represents, both in the short and long term. Several key public/private partnerships also played a role in stimulating market interest.

Hydrogen investing in Australia: What is hydrogen and how is it used?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element on Earth. It is a colourless gas that can be burned to generate electricity, or alternatively can be combined with oxygen atoms in fuel cells. Hydrogen can be produced in gas or liquid form, and has the ability to replace fossil fuels in household heating, transportation and industrial manufacturing processes like steelmaking, which consumes massive amounts of power.

As a fuel, the great advantage of hydrogen is that it produces no carbon emissions, only water as a by-product. First discovered 250 years ago by English physicist Henry Cavendish, hydrogen was initially used in combination with oxygen to power internal combustion engines, hydrogen gas blowpipes and hydrogen gas lamps. It was later used in the construction of hydrogen-lifted airships and German Zeppelins until passenger service was abandoned after the tragic 1937 explosion of the Hindenburg Zeppelin in New Jersey, which killed 36 people.

Currently, the hydrogen market is valued at over US$100 billion, with the material being used widely as an industrial chemical, mainly by the petroleum industry for the production of ammonia, a principal ingredient in the manufacturing of nitrate fertiliser.

There is also growing demand for hydrogen by companies anxious to harness its properties as an effective means of storing power. But none of these applications for hydrogen compare to its extraordinary potential as a viable clean energy fuel for transportation ― particularly in trucks, airplanes and ships.

These essential means of transportation are difficult to decarbonise due to the weight of batteries and their inability to hold sufficient charge for long-haul trips. Hydrogen, however, offers a much lighter alternative as a clean-burning fuel that would go a long way to eliminating carbon emissions in the transport sector.

Hydrogen investing in Australia: Big players and government investment 

Aside from the smaller-cap companies mentioned above, several major Australian energy companies, including Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG,OTCQX:FSUMF), Origin Energy (ASX:ORG,OTC Pink:OGFGF) and Wesfarmers (ASX:WES,OTC Pink:WFAFF), are now rapidly expanding their investment in the hydrogen sector.

Clearly, if hydrogen is now in the process of realizing its potential as a replacement for oil- and coal-generated electricity, the leading steel, coal and gas producers may be well-positioned to bring about this shift in the energy mix. They possess the requisite financial might and technological/engineering expertise to become dominant players in the hydrogen sector as they assume their role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Aiding this growth in Australia's hydrogen industry is government support. The EU, for example, paid nearly half of the US$23 million cost of Shell’s (LSE:SHEL,NYSE:SHEL) Rhineland project, while Queensland has partnered with Fortescue on a AU$1 billion hydrogen project in Gladstone.

Last year alone saw a doubling in the number of newly announced large-scale hydrogen projects to over 500, as per a Hydrogen Council report. Nearly 75 percent of these long-term plant, port and pipeline projects are expected to be completed by the end of the decade, with 40 percent already funded or under construction.

Meanwhile, the Australian government is in the process of investing AU$1.4 billion in its domestic hydrogen industry as part of a growing global drive towards net-zero emissions. Australia's National Hydrogen Strategy intends to grow this industry and position Australia as a major player by 2030.

Aside from that, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has set out an Australian technology roadmap that intends to pour a total of AU$20 billion into clean hydrogen, energy storage, low-emission steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage and solar.

In June 2021, Morrison announced a joint hydrogen development program with Germany under which Australia will gain access to highly advanced German hydrogen technology, strengthening Australia's ambitions of becoming a leading hydrogen exporter. This will help Australia build up its capacity to export significant quantities of hydrogen to Germany as part of the European country's policy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Australia will also be partnering with Japan (to develop new hydrogen fuel cell technology and establish the world's first clean liquefied hydrogen export pilot project), Singapore (to accelerate low-emission technologies) and Korea (to collaborate on hydrogen supply chain research and low- and zero-emission technology).

Hydrogen investing in Australia: Long-term outlook

The promise of Australia's hydrogen market is strong — indeed, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency believes the space could be worth up to AU$10 billion annually by 2040, at which time the country would be putting out over 3 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen on a yearly basis.

But putting matters into perspective, proposed long-term investments in transitioning towards hydrogen are still dwarfed by Big Oil's average annual expenditure on developing new fields.

In today's early stages, investors looking to enter Australia's hydrogen space have plenty of choices, whether they want to start with the larger players or try their hand at determining which earlier-stage stocks will be successful.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Harold Von Kursk, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Top News

Global News

×