Australian gold mines produced a record amount of gold in 2020, as the price of the precious metal reached all-time highs.
The national gold mine output reached 327 tonnes, worth roughly $27 billion, according to independent industry consultants Surbiton Associates.
The price of gold reached an all-time high of $2,868 per ounce in August last year.
Investors fled to the gold markets in droves due to 2020's market volatility, and Surbiton managing director Sandra Close says the precious metal's role as a safe haven is set to continue.
"It is likely gold will still be seen as a safe store of value, as it is tangible and you can hold in your hand," she said.
Australia is the world's second-largest gold producer, and much of the precious metal is exported.
Dr Close says the peak prices mean miners are processing more lower-grade rock.
"Although Australian gold production is remaining near record levels, we are seeing a significant overall drop in the grade of ore being treated," she said.
Newcrest Mining's Cadia East operation in NSW produced the most gold in 2020, with 822,478 ounces, followed by Newmont Corp's Boddington in Western Australia at 670,000 ounces.
The overall gold haul for 2020 was 1.5 tonnes more than in 2019, though down slightly on the 12 months to June 2020.
There are several new or recommissioned operations that are expected to enter production in 2021, including Hillgrove in NSW, Kaiser Reef Ltd in Victoria, as well as Banda Mining and Novo Resources in WA.
Australian Associated Press