Costs pose challenge

THE biggest challenge facing Australian gold producers could well be reducing their operational costs.

According to a research report by analyst Keith Goode of stockbroker Bell Securi-ties Limited, for the mines that reported their December quarterlies by the 31 January 2000 deadline, Australian gold production has risen slightly to a rate of 298 tonnes per annum at virtually unchanged cash costs of $312/ounce.

A number of old mines were revived in the quarter but all had disappointing results. Chalice and Mt Todd both reported cash costs at about $700/oz.

“Our forwards comparison for the major gold producers shows that, while international golds have been reducing their forward positions, Australian golds increas-ed their forwards in the December quarter by a net 41t to total 1305t,” said Mr Goode.

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