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China remains top gold producer but global trend 'is down for 2008'

New official figures released yesterday (January 4th) have confirmed that China has consolidated its status as the world's biggest gold miner.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, a total of 246 tonnes of gold were mined in the country in the first 11 months of 2008.

This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 2.14 percent, while there were 23.42 tonnes produced in November, down slightly from the 24 tonnes recorded for October.

Despite the figures, Lawrence Williams, a senior columnist on respected gold industry website, has suggested that global gold output will fall for 2008 as a whole.

He wrote: "With declining output in a number of countries, of which South Africa's is the most significant, and only a small increase in China, it looks as if world gold output will likely fall further again in total once full 2008 statistics are available."

Mr. Williams added that this situation would be beneficial for anyone with a gold investment as restricted supply would lead to increased demand and therefore higher gold prices.

China has overtaken South Africa as the leading producer of the yellow metal in recent times.

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