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According to business-intelligence provider IntierraRGM, the declining rate of new gold discoveries and grades across the global market during the last decade has accelerated over the last four years.

IntierraRMG says that data and analysis from its report reveals that the two year period from 2003 to 2004 was the best in the study range, with over 400 Moz of new gold discovered. This includes inferred, indicated and measured ounces with an average grade of 1.65 g/t.

The company indicated that in contrast, 2005 and 2006 had the lowest number, with just over 150 Moz of new gold discovered – albeit with a similar grade.

Discoveries then increased significantly during 2007 to 2008 with greater than 390 Moz. The average grade also increased significantly to 2.65 g/t; the highest in the 10 year period.

Over the next two years, slightly more than 250 Moz were discovered with a declining grade of 1.25 g/t. This deterioration, says IntierraRGM, continued through 2011 and 2012 as the amount of new gold ounces discovered dipped below 225 Moz with a reduced grade of 1.17 g/t.

The company noted that in this 10 year study period, Africa lead the way with new discoveries of 479 Moz of gold with an average grade of 2.8 g/t, followed by North America, although with significantly less new ounces of 290 Moz, and with a much lower grade of 1.3 g/t.

Europe had the third most new discoveries with 240 Moz but with a higher grade than North America of 2.0 g/t. South America recorded 188 Moz, whilst Australasia saw 74 Moz of new discoveries with an average grade of 1.4 g/t respectively.

With global drilling activity waning, IntierraRMG forecasts that the next few years will continue the trend with fewer new gold discoveries, concluded IntierraRMG’s western hemisphere director Glen Jones.

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