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Victoria’s gold industry production value has jumped by almost $1 billion in the past year, according to Earth Resources Regulation Statistical Report 2019-2020.

The report found that gold mining is worth $1.84 billion in 2019-20, compared with $1.015 billion in 2018-19.

Gold production in Victoria achieved its highest result in seven years, reaching 792,267 ounces in 2019-20, while gold expenditure reached $422.5 million.

Victoria’s mineral exploration expenditure reached $124 million in 2019-20 compared with $47.5 million in 2014-15.

Mineral sands also saw exploration expenditure quadruple from $6.5 million to $23.9 million since 2015-16

Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) Victoria executive director James Sorahan said mineral sands is expected to create further job opportunities in regional Victoria.

“The Murray Basin has the world’s largest known deposits of mineral sands attracting a number of mineral sands projects which will create job opportunities in regional Victoria, particularly in the Wimmera and east Gippsland,” he said.

According to Sorahan, Victoria’s minerals industry employment is vital for the state’s development.

“Around three quarters of spending by Victorian mines stays in Victoria through wages, goods and services and taxes,” he continued.

“The minerals industry employs Victorian geologists, geophysicists, field assistants, drillers, laboratory personnel and geoscientists across the state, with wages well above the all-industries average.

“Providing jobs for young people to stay in regional areas, and creating opportunities for skilled Australians to move to regional Victoria is critical to our state’s development and reducing inequality gaps between Melbourne and the regions.”