map of queensland with a push pin in it

Queensland represents some 6 percent of Australia’s economic demonstrated gold resources at roughly 710 tonnes.

The Australian state of Queensland is perhaps best known for its sun, beaches and livable cities, but like all other Australian states, it’s endowed with vast mineral resources and wide open spaces that make it an attractive investment opportunity the world over.

According to the Fraser Institute’s latest survey of mining companies, Australia is the most attractive region for mining in terms of global investment. However, Australia’s jurisdictions all had their policy perspective index (PPI) scores decline from 2020/2021.

“The subjective and unpredictable regulatory process is preventing new mining developments,” the report noted about Queensland, which fell behind Canadian mining jurisdictions such as Ontario, the Yukon, Quebec and the province of Saskatchewan for investment attractiveness.

That said, just about anything you can shake a stick at is mined in Queensland, and though it may be best known for its coal exports (Queensland represents around 50 percent of Australia’s coal resources, which totalled AU$69.6 billion in 2018/2019), the state is dotted with active mines as well, with a modest collection that produce gold.

Many of the state’s gold mines are held in private hands, and overall, Queensland represents some 6 percent of the economic demonstrated gold resources in the country at roughly 710 tonnes.

In 2020/2021, Queensland’s mines produced 13 tonnes of gold, making it the fifth most productive state in Australia for the precious metal, just beneath the Northern Territory’s output (15 tonnes), and trailing New South Wales (36 tonnes) and Victoria (24 tonnes). Queensland is well behind Western Australia, the king of gold production in the country, which produced 218 tonnes in the same year. Altogether, the country produced 320.1 tonnes during the period.

Nevertheless, as an attractive jurisdiction with active gold mines in the southeast, the north and the western portions of the state, Queensland remains an interesting proposition for investors, with a state government that courts investment and that is known for pushing for more mining activity — especially in the coal sector — and diversification for its economy.

The state has many historical ties with the industry. Though it’s now inactive and has been for decades, the Mount Morgan mine in Central Queensland was the source of wealth that funded the beginnings of what became BP (LSE:BP,NYSE:BP).

Unlike other large states in Australia, Queensland benefits from transportation links, deep ports and population centres up and down its coastline, with roads and rail linking areas of interest to export markets throughout and adding to its appeal as a mining jurisdiction.

Read on to learn about some of the largest Queensland-focused gold companies by market cap. Data for this article was gathered on June 30, 2022, from TradingView's stock screener.

1. Evolution Mining

Market cap: AU$4.4 billion

Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) has interests in assets in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Canada, with two operating mines and an economic interest in the sunshine state.

Combined, Evolution Mining’s gold production clocked in at over 681,000 ounces in the 2021 financial year with its two operational mines in Queensland (Mount Rawdon and Mount Carlton) providing 169,402 ounces of the total, almost a quarter of its gold output for the last year.

Additionally, it holds an economic interest in the Ernest Henry mine, operated by mining giant Glencore (LSE:GLEN), which produced over 92,397 ounces in the same year.

2. Aeris Resources

Market cap: AU$214.97 million

Aeris Resources (ASX:AIS) is a copper- and gold-focused company, with its flagship gold asset — the Cracow gold mine — located in Southeast Queensland near the capital city of Brisbane. Evolution Mining divested the Cracow mine in 2020.

Aeris is optimistic for the future of the mine, which has produced 1.5 million ounces since mining began in 2004 — its current life is planned out to 2023, though the company believes it will have a longer future ahead with more exploration. Aeris has put Cracow’s gold production guidance at 60,000 to 65,000 ounces for 2023.

3. Citigold

Market cap: AU$10.2 million

Citigold (ASX:CTO) is the owner of mining operations in and around the city of Charters Towers in Northern Queensland. The historical gold-mining region retains its reputation as an attractive prospect for gold, with the company reporting it is sitting on inferred resources of 14 million ounces of gold.

The company, which engages in the exploration, development, processing and sale of gold, claims it is planning for production to ramp up to 220,000 ounces of gold per year, though this would require “significant” capital investment and planning.

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

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