Gold mines in Australia

With a rich and diverse mining history, Australia was ranked third in the world among gold producing nations as of 2020 falling slightly behind Russia and China. Australia mines just over 300 tonnes annually, and is believed to have massive reserves of 9,500 tonnes of gold still underground.

Australia's iron ore and gold mines have been a major contributor to the nation’s economic growth throughout history. The Australian gold rush helped make the country one of the major economic players. The development and urbanisation of Perth and Australia’s western region – which occurred during the 1960s – was, and still is, particularly reliant on the mining industries.

Graph of Australian gold mine production

Active gold mines in Australia

Roughly, 66 gold mines are currently operating in Australia, but the majority of the nation’s production comes from eleven mines in Western Australia. In international gold production terms, were Western Australia to be a nation, it would be the world's fifth largest producer.

Australian gold mines use internationally developed extraction techniques; these include open pit, underground operations, plus drill and blast methods. The majority of gold is obtained from open pit mines, such as the Fimiston Pit or Super Pit.

Map of Australian gold mines

Australian gold production statistics

Below are production statistics for the five biggest gold mines in Australia from latest available production figures:

Boddington Gold Mine Western Australia 24 tonnes of gold
Kalgoorlie Super Pit Gold Mine Western Australia 22 tonnes of gold
Telfer Gold Mine Western Australia 15 tonnes of gold
Jundee Gold Mine Western Australia 14 tonnes of gold
Lake Cowal Gold Mine New South Wales 0.75 tonnes of gold

The first finds of gold in Australia are thought to date back to before 1814. The country was at this time a virtual British colonial penal colony. In fear of possible chaos and rebellion the British authorities at first suppressed news of these discoveries.

In America, the California Gold Rush – which began on January 24th, 1848 – attracted a huge migration of workers from all over the world and, faced with potential loss of labour, the fledgling British colony changed its policy and made public its own gold discoveries. Many accounts, therefore, date the first discoveries of gold in Australia to those made by Edward Hargraves in 1851, which were widely publicised at the time.

This discovery led the way to the New South Wales and Victoria Gold Rushes and later the 1890s Western Australian Gold Rush. Immigrants from other parts of the British Empire and Ireland went seeking their fortunes, not just directly from mining but also indirectly from other supply trades.