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<font color=gold>GOLD- Another Bullish Sign Supply

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    Gold output on slippery slope
    Reuters
    September 17 2002 at 08:22AM
    London - Production levels at gold mines might not be sustainable because of depleted reserves at mature North American mine operations and a fall in new mines due on stream, a leading mine research group said yesterday.

    "Initial estimates for global gold mine production point to a significant fall during the first half of 2002 ... One of the major causes is that output tumbled in Indonesia," London-based Gold Fields Mineral Services (GFMS) said in a statement.

    Lower grades at mining operations in the US state of Nevada were expected to have left output
    "considerably lower" year on year to leave total US output at levels last recorded a decade ago.

    GFMS gave no figures on mine output levels but said it would finalise and publish details of its survey at a presentation of its global gold survey on September 24.

    The GFMS survey would support research by Toronto-based mining investment banking and research firm Beacon Group Advisors, which in April forecast global gold output falling this year for the first time in two decades, reflecting years of low prices and slashed exploration budgets.

    Beacon estimated world supply of mined gold might plummet by nearly 30 percent by 2010 unless bullion prices rallied and prompted miners to bring untapped deposits on stream.

    Beacon Group's modelling showed global output below 60 million ounces (1.7 million kilogrammes) by 2010, down from its current levels of about 83 million, if bullion prices averaged $275.

    Even projections based on a price of $300 and incorporating planned new mine developments showed output falling sharply after 2006 to post a 22 percent drop from current levels.

    Gold was at $317.10/ $317.60 at about 2pm in London yesterday.
 
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