Gold output in Australia, the world's second-biggest producer, expanded for a second quarter in the period ending in September because of higher ore grades, according to mining consultant Surbiton Associates.
Production was 69.5 metric tonnes, compared to 67 tonnes in the previous three months, Melbourne-based Surbiton said in a statement. Output was 62 tonnes in the same period a year earlier, it said.
The gold price rose 7.6 per cent in the third quarter, the first such gain in a year after a slump into a bear market in April spurred sales of coins, jewellery and bars. Bullion tumbled 26 per cent this year amid speculation that the US Federal Reserve would scale back monthly bond-buying that helped prices cap a 12-year bull run in 2012.
"The higher production was due to the treatment of higher ore grades, and this in turn reduced cash costs," said Sandra Close, a director at Surbiton. "This is precisely what we expected, given the decline in gold prices in April and the lack of a significant recovery since then."
Gold for immediate delivery dropped to $US1225.55 an ounce on November 25, the lowest since July 8. The metal traded at $US1242.05 late on Friday, heading for a third straight monthly loss.
Fed minutes on November 20 signalled that policymakers expected an improving US economy to warrant trimming asset purchases in the coming months.
Gold rose 70 per cent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the bank bought debt to bolster the recovery.
China was the biggest producer in 2012, followed by Australia, according to the US Geological Survey.
Production in China rose 6.8 per cent to 307.8 tonnes in the first nine months of this year, with output in the September quarter of 115 tonnes, according to data from the China Gold Association.