Gold in Queensland
Queensland represents some 6 percent of Australia’s economic demonstrated gold resources at roughly 610 tonnes.
The Australian state of Queensland is perhaps best known for its sun, beaches and livable cities, but like all other Australian states it’s endowed with vast mineral resources and wide open spaces that make it an attractive investment opportunity the world over.
According to the Fraser Institute’s latest survey of mining companies, Queensland ranks ahead of famed Canadian mining jurisdictions such as British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, with only the province of Saskatchewan besting the sunshine state for investment attractiveness.
Just about anything you can shake a stick at is mined in Queensland, and though it may be best known for its coal exports (which netted AU$36 billion for the state in the 2018 to 2019 financial year), the state is dotted with active mines as well, with a modest collection that produce gold.
Many of the state’s gold mines are held in private hands, and overall Queensland represents some 6 percent of the economic demonstrated gold resources in the country at roughly 610 tonnes.
In 2018, Queensland’s mines produced 18 tonnes of gold, making it the third most productive state in Australia for the precious metal, behind New South Wales (39 tonnes) and well behind Western Australia, the king of gold production in the country, which produced 211 tonnes in the same year. The whole country produced 315 tonnes during the period.
Nevertheless, as an attractive jurisdiction with active gold mines in the southeast, the north and the western portions of the state, Queensland remains an interesting proposition for investors, with a state government that courts investment and that is known for pushing for more mining activity (especially in the coal sector) and diversification for its economy.
The state has many historical ties with the industry, with recent spikes in the gold price even spurring a surge in prospecting in regions with historical mining activity. Though it’s now inactive and has been for decades, the Mount Morgan mine in Central Queensland was the source of wealth that funded the beginnings of what became BP (LSE:BP,NYSE:BP).
Unlike other large states in Australia, Queensland benefits from transportation links, deep ports and population centres up and down its coastline, with roads and rail linking areas of interest to export markets throughout and adding to its appeal as a mining jurisdiction.
Read on to learn about some of the largest Queensland-focused gold companies by market cap.
1. Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN)
Market cap: AU$10.23 billion
Evolution Mining has interests in assets in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Canada, with two operating mines and an economic interest in the sunshine state.
Combined, Evolution Mining’s gold production from Queensland clocked in at over 230,000 ounces in the 2020 financial year from three operational mines (Mount Rawdon, Mount Carlton and Cracow), though the company divested from Cracow towards the end of the year.
Additionally, it holds an economic interest in the Ernest Henry mine, operated by mining giant Glencore (LSE:GLEN), which produced over 94,000 ounces in the same year. Together, Evolution Mining’s Queensland assets contributed roughly a third of its gold output for the last year.
2. Aeris Resources (ASX:AIS)
Market cap: AU$149.86 million
Aeris Resources is a copper- and gold-focused company, with its flagship gold asset — the Cracow gold mine — located in Southeast Queensland near the capital city of Brisbane.
As mentioned, Evolution Mining divested the Cracow mine in 2020; it produced 87,774 ounces of gold in its last year with the larger Australian company.
Aeris is optimistic for the future of the mine, which has produced 1.4 million ounces since mining began in 2004 — its current life is planned out to 2023, though the company believes it will have a longer future ahead with more exploration.
3. Citigold (ASX:CTO)
Market cap: AU$36.79 million
Citigold is the owner of mining operations in and around the city of Charters Towers, in Northern Queensland. The historical gold-mining region retains its reputation as an attractive prospect for gold, with the company reporting it is sitting on inferred resources of 11 million ounces of gold.
The company, which engages in exploration, development, processing and sale of gold, claims it is planning for production to ramp up to 220,000 ounces of gold per year, though this would require “significant” capital investment and planning.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.