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Rising gold output keeps Australia in No 2 spot Gold in February 2011

Rising gold output keeps Australia in No 2 spot
Sunday, 27 February 2011  at  09:25, Bloomberg

Rising gold output keeps Australia in No 2 spot
Australia kept its position as the world’s second-largest producer of gold with a 17 per cent increase in output of the precious metal last year, a research group said.

Production rose 38 metric tonnes to 266 tonnes in 2010 from a year earlier, Sandra Close, a director of Melbourne-based Surbiton Associates Pty, said in an e-mailed statement.

Gold is trading near record highs as investors seek to protect their wealth against accelerating inflation and intensifying violence in the Middle East. Prices have risen for 10 straight years to reach a record $1,432.50 an ounce on December 7 on the Comex in New York. Gold’s role as an inflation hedge will grow as consumer prices increase worldwide, Credit Suisse AG analyst Stefan Graber said February 22.

China was No 1 with reported production of 341 tonnes and the US would rank No 3 with an output of about 240 tonnes, Close said.

Australian output gained 12 per cent to 70 tonnes in the fourth quarter, Surbiton said.

Newmont Mining Corp’s Boddington mine, southeast of Perth, was Australia’s largest single producer during the quarter with 206,000 ounces. The Superpit, 550 kilometres (342 miles) east of Perth and a joint venture of Newmont and Barrick Gold Corp, remained Australia’s largest producer for the year with 788,000 ounces, Surbiton said.