China\'s gold output may exceed 350 tonnes and consumption reach 400 tonnes this year, according to the head of China Gold Association. The output in the first nine months of the year hit 259 tonnes, up 4.32 percent from a year ago, said Sun Zhaoxue, also the president of China National Gold Group Corp., at the China Mining Congress and Expo 2011 that concluded Tuesday in the northern coastal city of Tianjin. \"I\'m optimistic about the prospect of China\'s gold industry. The output is estimated to reach 400 tonnes in the next few years and there is potential for further increase,\" Sun said. The consumption, however, is estimated to hit 400 tonnes this year, a surge from 270 tonnes in 2010, Sun said. The purchase of gold bars is expected to nearly double to 270 tonnes amid safe-haven buying, he added. China has a proven gold reserve of 6,327.4 tonnes, making its the largest gold reserve holder second only to South Africa, he said.