• Newmont Mining's Boddington was top-producing operation
  • Saracen Mineral, Metals X have reopened mothballed mines

Gold output in Australia, the world’s second-biggest producer, reached the highest in 12 years in 2015 as rising prices see miners revive mothballed operations.

Full-year production was 285 metric tons last year, almost two tons more than in 2014 and the highest annual total since 2003, mining consultancy Surbiton Associates Ltd. said Sunday in an e-mailed statement.

Bullion is the best-performing commodity this year, rising 15 percent, as haven demand lures investors and expectations mount that the Federal Reserve won’t raise U.S. interest rates further in 2016. Producers in countries including Australia are also benefiting from weaker local currencies that trim costs and help to boost margins.

Gold in Australian dollar terms touched A$1,778.65 an ounce on Feb. 11, the highest since Sept. 22, 2011. Spot bullion closed Friday at $1,223.46 an ounce and is headed for a second successive monthly advance.

“If you factor higher prices and tighter cost containment into the overall equation, margins have increased,” Surbiton director Sandra Close said in the statement. “Much of the local gold sector is traveling quite well for the moment.”

Saracen Mineral Holdings this month poured its first gold from the reopened Thunderbox mine in Western Australia, while Metals X Ltd. resumed production at the Central Murchison gold project in October. Newmont Mining Corp.’s Boddington mine was Australia’s top producer in 2015, yielding 794,000 ounces of gold, according to Surbiton.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE