GOLD production in Australia slumped in the September quarter, as the nation's mines lagged under planned and unplanned equipment outages.
Statistics compiled by Surbiton Associates show the amount of gold produced in Australia was lower than the June quarter of 2012 and the September quarter of 2011.
The 62 tonnes produced was well below the 67 tonnes produced over the same period in 2011 and the 64 tonnes in the three months to June.
Surbiton director Dr Sandra Close said the result was disappointing and influenced by the fact Kalgoorlie's ''superpit'' produced its lowest quarterly total in nearly five years.
Jointly owned by North American giants Barrick and Newmont, the superpit mined through lower than average grades during the period.
As a result, it was eclipsed by Newmont's Boddington mine - also in Western Australia - as the nation's biggest gold-producing mine.
A planned shutdown at Newcrest's Telfer mine also contributed.
But Dr Close said there was room for optimism, with several large projects, including Newcrest's Cadia East expansion, ready to start producing gold within the next month or so.
The benchmark gold price spent most of last week hovering around $US1720 an ounce.