Diggers and Dealers conference: Further gold price hikes possible, analyst believes

Global insecurity could see the price of gold rise further, delegates at the 25th Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie-Boulder have been told.

The annual mining conference kicked off in Kalgoorlie-Boulder today, with more than 1,800 mining heavyweights flocking to Australia's unofficial gold capital.

In his keynote address, former first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund John Lipsky painted a picture of global political and economic instability.

"This is a very unusual time and one of great uncertainty," he said.

"The happy news for the gold miners is that in the near term the uncertainty is generally not a bad thing for the gold price."

Financial analyst Tim Treadgold said there was a sense of optimism at this year's Diggers and Dealers that had been absent in recent years.

"Share prices are up, commodity prices are up [and] people are confident deals can be done," he said.

"We've gone through the crisis. It's now a long grind up."

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Mr Treadgold said gold was the standout commodity this year.

"In Australian terms, we are getting very close to all-time high prices in the range of $1,770 to $1,800," he said.

"Every gold miner in Australia would be profitable at those prices. And if they can be maintained there is going to be a lot more activity in gold.

"I'm quite confident it [the price] will stay strong. There are factors leaning towards it going higher - not least being the possible election of Donald Trump as US president.

"That would send a shock through the global system.

Head and shoulders shot of Tim Treadgold, taken outside with mining machinery in the background.  Mr Treadgold said there was a sense of optimism at this year's conference. (ABC News: Nathan Morris)

"Gold loves trouble. If gold is going up and everything else is going down it shows that we are in trouble in some areas, but for the Goldfields region, a high gold price is very good news."

Business services firm Deloitte has released data showing the value of Western Australian-based listed companies had grown 1.8 per cent from last year, when the index shed 11.6 per cent.

Deloitte clients and markets partner Tim Richards said a strong increase in lithium and gold prices had contributed to this growth.

"The success of lithium miners has been matched only by the lustre of WA's established gold sector, with lithium and gold companies among the top three movers in terms of market capitalisation growth," Mr Richards said.

"Lithium was clearly the surprise package for 2016. We have seen a price increase of more than 200 per cent as excitement continues to build around the potential for lithium batteries within electric vehicles and general power storage devices."

Neometals managing director Christopher Reed said his company had experienced a significant upswing in its share price since the last Diggers and Dealers conference.

"This time last year the share price was 10 cents. Now it's 40 cents," he said.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the conference, the Perth Mint showcased the world's largest and most valuable coin in Kalgoorlie.

Valued in excess of $60 million, the colossal coin weighs one tonne and measures 80cm wide and 13cm deep.

Source: ABC News

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