Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Contents complex and elaborate schemes by which he
acquired many mining companies and attracted
overseas investment and personal support. As
highlighted by the Mining Association of WA:
"Western Australia would have been in dire plight
during the Depression without its gold mining
which plainly came as a life-saver."
But all that s history. What we have today is
the third -- or modern -- gold boom, which started
in 1982, the first year that Australian gold output
began to rise substantially. Sandra describes how
this boom, which continues today, has been driven
by two obvious factors -- a change from a fixed to a
floating price for gold, and the introduction of
number two spot is secure for the next few years
When the Newmont Boddington Gold mine
reaches production capacity of 1 million ounces
annually, it will be the biggest producer of gold
in the country. Employing a workforce of 650 to
900, including contractors, the 4km-long, 1km-
wide mine will reach an ultimate depth of 700m
and is expected to generate $550 million a year for
the Peel economy and pump $770 million a year
into WA. Its life expectancy is more than 24 years.
For now, Kalgoorlie s Super Pit and Newcrest s
Telfer gold mine in the Pilbara regularly battle for
honours as WA s top producer. In 2008 (the latest
carbon to the processing technology, which
changed the economics of recovering gold.
Since 1934 the gold price had remained fixed
at $US35 per ounce. Just two years after the 1971
introduction of the floating price, the average
annual gold price had risen to almost $US100 per
ounce, and in 1974 it was just under $US160 per
ounce. Gold became worth looking for and money
was thrown into exploration.
"This kicked off the rush again and sparked
the real boom in Australia, particularly focused on
WA. It puts us where we are today," says Sandra.
"Since 1982 the production of gold in Australia
increased from less than 20 tonnes a year to more
than 300 tonnes a year (peaking at 318 tonnes for
1997-98)... this has now come down considerably
again to 220 tonnes."
Sandra says although Australia is producing
less than it was a decade ago, it is worth more.
Ever since the early 1980s, the dollar value of gold
produced in Australia has been significant. Gold is
still one of the largest single export items, with WA
producing 75 percent of Australia s gold.
Australia is the second-biggest gold producer in
the world (behind China) and with the expansion
and reopening of the gold mine at Boddington,
130km south-east of Perth, last July it is likely the
figure available at the time of going to press) the
Super Pit produced 646,000 ounces while last year
Telfer produced 629,000 ounces.
The Super Pit, which is not far from its eventual
size of nearly 3.8km-long, 1.5km-wide and 600m
deep, is managed by Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold
Mines (KCGM) and jointly owned by Newmont
Australia and Barrick Gold Corporation.
Over the years there have been 80 separate
mining operations and 1200 different companies
involved in mining the site of the present-day
Super Pit. Despite the initial rush for gold, by
the early 1980s, it was no longer profitable for
numerous individual companies to run different
underground operations along the Golden Mile.
It was at this time that WA businessman Alan
Bond set his sights on buying up the various
50,000 mobile phones contain 1kg
of gold. Every year in the UK, 15
million handsets are thrown in the
bin, ending up in landfill complete
with the 300kg of gold they contain
-- worth more than $11 million at
today's gold price.
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