Miner Seeks to Revive 1882 Gold Lode as Australia Dollar Weakens
(Bloomberg) -- A weak Australian dollar has miners eying shuttered reserves, including an abandoned gold deposit first excavated the same year Thomas Edison began commercial operation of a power plant in New York in the late 19th century.
The Mount Morgan mine in Queensland was the world’s largest gold operation at its peak in the early 1900s and has produced roughly 262 metric tons of the precious metal over its lifespan, according to Heritage Minerals Pty Ltd., which plans to reopen the site in 2023. At least four other companies attempted and failed to revive the mine, which was abandoned in 1990.
Gold priced in Australian dollars is up 2.1% this year while the precious metal valued in U.S. dollars has lost 5.6%. That’s bolstering returns for the country’s miners when they repatriate bullion sales in U.S. dollars back home.
The value of gold projects in Australia at the “committed” stage stood at A$5.1 billion ($3.6 billion) as at Oct. 31, up 31% on the prior year, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources said in a report this week on the outlook for major resources projects. That pipeline is set to boost gold output in Australia -- the world’s top producer in the first half of 2021 -- by about 20% between 2020 and 2023, it said.
The biggest projects include Newmont Corp’s A$900 million Tanami expansion in Western Australia and Newcrest Mining Ltd.’s Cadia development in New South Wales, the report said. Heritage’s Mount Morgan project plans to reprocess 10 million tons of gold and copper tailings over five-and-a-half years, according to an article on the company’s website.
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