The MasterBlog: China 2007 gold output up 12.67 pct, still No. 2| Reuters
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

China 2007 gold output up 12.67 pct, still No. 2| Reuters

UPDATE 2-China 2007 gold output up 12.67 pct, still No. 2

Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:04am EST

(Adds global output in graf 5)

By Lucy Hornby

BEIJING, Jan 29 (Reuters) - China's gold output rose 12.67 percent in 2007 to 270.491 tonnes, but the gain was not enough to overtake top producer South Africa, the vice secretary general of the China Gold Association said on Tuesday.

Production fell just short of South Africa's 272 tonnes. The two countries were neck and neck in gold output in the second half of the year, leading London-based GFMS to estimate that China had already become the world's largest producer in 2007.

"The real output may be a little higher and we may have to adjust final figures a little, because of the special characteristics of Chinese statistics, but for now we are going with 270.5 tonnes," Hou Huimin told Reuters.

Output in the fourth quarter leapt to 79.035 tonnes, according to Reuters' calculations, as miners raced to cash in on rising gold prices. Gold hit a record high of $929.40 an ounce on Tuesday.

China now accounts for over a tenth of world production, estimated at 2,444 tonnes by GFMS. Global output fell 1 percent in 2007, GFMS estimated, as gold mining costs passed $400 per ounce for the first time in the third quarter.

South African output in particular was constrained by dwindling ore grades, accidents and rising labour costs on the back of a strong rand, exacerbated this month by massive power outages.

Power cuts also forced closures of gold mines in the southwest Chinese province of Guizhou in January, following unusual snows.

Junior gold miners have been the fastest to take advantage of China's opening of its mining sector, particularly of remote or difficult deposits, to foreign investors.

China Gold Mines poured its first gold from its Guanzhuang gold project in Hunan province, with commercial production expected in April, the company said in a press release on Monday.

It joins Jinshan Gold Mines (JIN.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) and Sino Gold Mining Ltd (SGX.AX: Quote, Profile, Research)(1862.HK: Quote, Profile, Research) which began commercial mining in 2007 in China. (Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Michael Roddy)

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Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

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