According to Paul Atherley, managing director of gold mining company Leyshon Resources, Heilongjiang province in northeastern China has so far produced 20 million ounces of gold – and most of that has been picked up off the ground.
Atherley was speaking at the Mining & Metals 2008 conference in Hong Kong yesterday, an event which also featured a couple of the other foreign-invested stars of China’s burgeoning gold industry, Jinshan and Sino Gold. Lest we forget, China became the world’s largest gold producing country in 2007, ending South Africa’s 102-year reign at the summit.
Heilongjiang is sitting on a rich seam of gold (Yunnan is the other key gold-producing area) but the absence of proper drilling expertise means it has gone largely untouched, apart from the easy pickings sitting on or close to the surface. As a result, foreign operators are queuing up to get involved. Leyshon, Jinshan and Sino Gold have all been to the capital markets (AIM, Toronto and Australia/Hong Kong respectively) to raise funds and are now getting busy at the rock face with their joint venture partners.
China resources + foreign expertise = gangster bling.