Australia gold output down 7 pct in Q3 y/y - survey

SYDNEY Sat Dec 1, 2012 8:00pm EST

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SYDNEY Dec 2 (Reuters) - Gold output in Australia, the world's no. 2 producer after China, fell 7 percent in the third quarter following operating problems at some of the county's biggest mines, a survey released on Sunday showed.

Output was 62 tonnes in the three months ended September 30, five tonnes down on the same period a year ago and two tonnes below the preceding quarter, according the Gold Quarterly Review by Melbourne-based Surbiton Associates.

"Many of the larger gold mines, mostly in Western Australia, had technical issues which reduced their gold output," said Surbiton Managing Director Sandra Close.

Gold production at Australia's biggest mine, Super Pit, declined by 42,000 ounces , or 1.3 tonnes, due to lower ore grades and processing, it said. The mine is a 50-50 joint venture between Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining

"Super Pit's production for the quarter was down substantially and the lowest in four and a half years," Close said. "Lately, it has been producing at around 180,000 to 200,000 ounces a quarter."

Other mines owned by Newmont, Newcrest Mining and St Barbara Mines also yielded less gold in the last quarter, according to Close.

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