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Heavy rains hurt gold mine production

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 25/05/2014 David Stringer

Gold output in Australia, the world's second-biggest producer, fell in the first quarter after a key mining region was inundated by heavy rainfall, industry consultant Surbiton Associates said.

Production was 68 metric tonnes in the three months through March, about 7 per cent less than in the fourth quarter of 2013, Melbourne-based Surbiton said in a statement. Output was 8 per cent higher than in the same period a year earlier, it said.

A tropical low brought heavy rain to the Goldfields region of Western Australia in mid-February, inundating Regis Resources Ltd's Duketon site with about 165 millimetres of rain and submerging its Garden Well mine under about 4.7 million cubic metres of water.

Full mining may resume in June, the Perth-based producer said last month.

''As well as mining and haulage problems, wet, sticky ore affects crushers and conveyor belts,'' said Surbiton director Sandra Close.

''Heavy rain can also restrict the supply of diesel and other consumables to remote mine sites.''

Bullion has advanced 7.7 per cent this year as concerns over the economic recovery in the US and tensions in Ukraine spurred haven demand. The metal has rallied after its largest annual decline in three decades last year.

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