SYDNEY May 28 Heavy rains and a cyclone led to
an 8 percent, or six-tonne drop in Australian gold production in
the first quarter, a survey released on Sunday showed.
Output for the quarter from the world's second-biggest gold
mining nation after China totaled 71.5 tonnes versus 77.5 tonnes
in the previous quarter, according to the survey by Australian
mining consultancy Surbiton Associates.
"This year heavy rain in Western Australia, which accounts
for about three-quarters of Australia’s gold output, plus the
effects of Cyclone Debbie in Queensland in late-March, played
havoc with gold production at many operations across the
country," Surbiton director Sandra Close said.
First quarter output was in line with levels in the first
quarter of 2016, Close said.
He said output is typically higher in the remaining three
quarters as seasonally drier weather sets in the Southern
The first three months of the year being the shortest
quarter of the year also played a role, as every day of the year
about three quarters of a tonne of gold is mined in Australia,
worth more than A$40 million ($30 million) at today's prices of
around A$1,700 per ounce, according to Close.
Gold ore mined in Australia is often hauled from underground
shafts to the lower levels of previously mined open pits, with
wet weather slowing operations due to slippery haul roads.
($1 = 1.3448 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Marguerita Choy)