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Opening of Chinese-Aussie gold mine shows solid partnership between Canberra, Beijing

By Christian Edwards (Xinhua)

13:17, May 22, 2013

KALGOORLIE, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The opening of another gold mine this week in the rich fields of Western Australia's Pilbarra is a triumph of the symbiotic partnership between the Fujian-based Zijin and its Australian partner Norton, as shared knowledge and expertise literally prove their worth in gold.

The 89 percent Zijin-owned Norton Gold Fields, Ltd. opened its latest open cut gold mine, Enterprise, Tuesday, in a spectacular turnaround for the Australian gold miner, which was all but dead in the water when Zijin came knocking in August last year.

With rich synergies and complimentary ambitions, Zijin took control of Norton Gold Fields following a 229 million AU dollar bid, using the Perth-based company as a foothold in the Pilbarra to further acquisitions and joint venture opportunities.

Full ore production in the mine is expected in November 2013, when gold will be produced at an average rate of 110,000 ounces per annum.

The move suggests that forward looking Chinese operations with low cost capital and high technological capacities are stepping up activity in the global gold sector, just as many of the bigger Western operations are reining in spending in the wake of a 13 percent drop in gold prices since December 2012.

The latest mine to feed Norton's Paddington mill fulfills Zijin's commitment to boost production, reduce unit costs and increase stakeholders' value. Previously, Norton forecast gold output of 154,000 ounces to 162,000 ounces this calendar year from its Paddington mine in Western Australia.

In standing with the company's strategy to increase production and gold resources at the same time as trimming operating costs, the Australian unit of China's biggest gold producer, has indicated strong interest in three Barrick Gold Corp mines, reflecting strong confidence in the gold's prospects despite a recent drop in prices.

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