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China’s gold mining industry: A story of growth

China’s gold mining industry is one of the largest in the world – with growing influence both at home and abroad.

China’s reserves of unmined gold are deep and growing. By the end of 2017, the country had identified gold resources and reserves of 13,195.60 tonnes (t) (Chart 1), a substantial figure in itself and an increase of 8.45% year-on-year.

China is also a world leader in gold production. Having overtaken South Africa in 2007, China has been the largest gold producer in the world for 11 years in succession, producing 426.14t in 2017, equivalent to just over 13% of the global market.

To become the world's largest for the first time—overtaking South Africa, which produced 272 tonnes, South Africa had until then been the largest for 101 years straight since 1905. The major reasons for this change in position had been due to South African production falling by 50% in the past decade as production costs there have risen, more stringent safety regulations have been implemented, and existing mines have become depleted. The comprehensive production cost of gold in China is approximately US$914/oz.

India has huge untapped potential in gold mining Officially, India mined just 1.61 tonnes of gold in India during 2017-18. But ask geologists, and they will tell you that India should be mining a lot more gold. This is because the terrain from Australia to China has similar geological features. There is a lot of gold to be found there. For instance, points out an Australian geologist, “In Australia, we produce around 300 tonnes (9.7 million troy ounces) compared to barely 2 tonnes in India. We think India could produce a lot more. In fact,” he adds, “look at China. Even China has a similar terrain. In 1994, India produced around 2 tonnes, and China produced around 3 tonnes. Today, China produces 450 tonnes”. Clearly the potential for India is huge.

Courtesy - AOJ

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