New Aussie jobs are worth their weight in gold

Gold has been the quiet achiever in mineral production.
Gold has been the quiet achiever in mineral production.

Gold's bonanza has slipped under the radar with the nation's attention on energy resources and even the agriculture boom.

Australia has just taken the title as the world's largest gold producer and is expected to keep it for the next few years at least.

Despite a small fall in production to 157 tonnes in the first half of this year, there is a solid pipeline of projects is expected to bring the country's gold mine production to 396 tonnes in 2023.

Australia only clawed back the crown from China last year which that country has held since 2007.

The resurgence in gold mining means hundreds more jobs for regional Australia.

Australia's gold industry already supports more than 30,000 highly skilled, highly paid jobs - mostly in regional and remote areas - earning an average wage of around $140,000, according to ABS data.

Gold export earnings are forecast to be $29 billion in 2021-22 before falling to $27 billion in 2022-23, as gold prices ease back with the rise of the global economy.

To give context to the value of gold, the value of Australian agricultural exports annually are about $48 billion.

Iron ore exports are still worth a staggering $149 billion despite the recent fall in prices.

The top five gold producing mines in Australia in the last financial year were Cadia near Orange in NSW (23.8 tonnes), Boddington in WA (21.8 tonnes), Fosterville in Victoria (18.4 tonnes), Tanami in the Northern Territory (15.0 tonnes), and the famous Super Pit in WA (14.9 tonnes).

Cadia says it has a total resource of 995 tonnes of gold.

The Ravenswood gold mine in northern Queensland has more than 250 workers.

The Ravenswood gold mine in northern Queensland has more than 250 workers.

Once the the largest gold mine in the world, the Mount Morgan mine near Rockhampton in Queensland, has slipped down the list but the Ravenswood gold mine located 90km south-west of Townsville is climbing the list.

Teetulpa Goldfield near Yunta in the Flinders Ranges region is still South Australia's best producing gold mine.


The top five mines accounted for almost a third of of Australian total gold mine production in 2020-21.

Cadia was the largest gold producer for the 2020-21 financial year, with 764,895 ounces. Boddington followed with 700,000 ounces while Fosterville was third producing 592,178 ounces.

The Cadia East gold mine in NSW was only opened in 1994 and is owned by Australian company Newcrest Mining.

Looking at the other top five producers, WA's Boddington and the Tanami (The Granites) are owned by the US Newmont Corporation, Fosterville is owned by Canada's Kirkland Lake Gold while the Super Pit is owned by Australia's Northern Star.

Gold prices rose fast as a financial safe haven during the pandemic and have stayed buoyant with the enduring popularity of gold as jewellery.

The richest places on the planet for many decades in the later 1800's and the impetus for Australia's transformation from a penal settlement to a resource-rich power, were the gold rushes in Victoria at Bendigo and Ballarat.

The current resurgence of gold is not lost on governments searching for new job growth.

In the past year a labour and skills shortage became an emerging issue for Australian gold producers.

Gold mining in Victoria is booming with production at levels not seen since 1906.

The impact has been especially stunning in the western Victorian town of Stawell.

The town's underground mine closed in 2016 but reopened with new owners in 2018.

More than 300 people are now working there.

In 2019-20 annual gold production in Victoria reached the highest yearly total since 1906, increasing by just on 40 per cent to almost 800,000 ounces.

Victoria's gold sector is valued at $1.9 billion with mining spending rising to $183.8 million last financial year.

Victoria is looking to boost total exploration investment spending to $220 million by mid-2023 with the aim to deliver at least one significant discovery by 2028.

The last major gold discovery in Australia from 2017 was Rio Tinto's Winu copper and gold mine in WA. Winu says it is sitting on 137 tonnes of gold.

Victorian Resource Minister Jaala Pulford said: "Stawell Gold Mine's resurgence has been stunning and that means hundreds of jobs for local workers and significant flow-on benefits for businesses across the Wimmera and beyond."

"The future of gold mining in the region looks bright with the next phase of exploration to commence soon, increasing the likelihood of finding even more gold."

The Victorian government last month announced the outcome of its North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release tender, which could see more than $100 million invested across northern Victoria.

This story All that glitters is definitely gold for new jobs first appeared on Farm Online.