The volume of drilling activity in the global gold industry has fallen by 55 per cent in the past 12 months, new data from research group IntierraRMG has found.
Its latest data collection showed there were drilling reports from only 172 prospects in March, compared to 382 in the same month last year.
IntierraRMG was quick to offer some ‘comfort’ to the beleaguered gold sector, stating that less than nine per cent of the 235 gold mines it monitored had average cash operating costs higher than the metal’s price.
However it is unknown how many of the nine per cent are Australian miners.
The 215 operations with cash costs below $US1350 per ounce produced 97 per cent of last year’s gold.
The study also pointed out that the price of gold has risen seven-fold since 2001 to an all-time high of $US1900 per ounce in 2011, before beginning to decline.
That equated to £1,000/oz - the last time the UK saw gold at that price in real terms was in 1489 when the Royal Mint issued sovereign coins valuing an ounce of gold at £2.