The rarest element in the universe, gold is approximately 0.003 parts per billion of the earth’s crust. How much gold does the world produce each year?
Global gold mine production in 2021 was reported at 3,463.7 tonnes. This is a decrease of one percent over the previous year and marks the first year-over year decline in global gold mine output since 2008. The production of gold has remained fairly steady since 2010, prompting me to ask the question, “Have we reached peak?
It is believed that all the gold-rich areas have been found and that explorers must dig deeper to locate economically viable deposits. South Africa, for example, was once the most prolific gold producer country, producing more than 1,000 tonnes in 1970. However, its annual production has been declining steadily since then. Several countries have emerged as gold producers in recent years.
China is the global number one gold producer. In 2019, the top 10 ranking saw a significant shift. Russia was second to Australia, while Indonesia was third. Brazil was ranked tenth. South Africa was also outranked by Ghana, who became the continent’s largest producer.
Here are some details about the top 10 countries producing the most gold in 2019. The list starts with China, which is the top producer and largest consumer of bullion. All data are from the World Gold Council.
1. China – 393.2 tonnes
China, which accounts for 11% of global mine production, has been the world’s top producer nation for many years. Production fell to nearly 400 tonnes last year, marking the third consecutive year with declining production. This is due in large part to the tighter environmental policies that have been imposed by government. Many operations were forced to reduce production due to stricter regulations regarding the use of cyanide in gold mines.
2. Russia – 349.5 tonnes
Russia is responsible for a staggering 83 percent of European-produced gold. It has been growing its production each year since 2010. Australia was second, with Russia taking the lead. Russia mined 50 tonnes more gold in 2019 than it did the previous year. Who is the biggest buyer of Russian gold and silver? Russian gold is primarily purchased by the government.
3. Australia – 331.1 tonnes
Australia has seen seven years of consecutive increases in its production, an increase of 4 percent in 2019. Over half of Australia’s total exports are made by the minerals industry, which generates around 8 percent of Australia’s GDP. Several mines saw higher production and there was a ramp up of projects like Mount Morgans or Cadia Valley, which contributed to the increase in production.
4. United States – 203.2 tonnes
In 2019, the American gold production fell by 11 per cent, ending five years of steady growth. The gold was produced in twelve states, accounting for approximately $8.9 billion of the global total. Nevada is home to around 78 percent the U.S. gold production. It would rank sixth on the list if it were a country with 173.6 tonnes of gold mined in 2019.
5. Canada – 172.9 tonnes
Canada is the number five country, despite a slight drop in production in 2019, and has held that position for three years. In 2020, new projects in Nunavat and Yukon will support increased output. Canada’s gold mining production will grow at a compound annual rate of 2.7 per cent between 2019 and 2023, to 7.6 million ounces.
6. Peru – 149.3 tonnes
Peru’s gold output dropped for the fourth consecutive year due to the crackdown on illegal mining operations in La Pampa and lower grades at existing projects. Peru’s mining sector is significant and accounts for more than 28 percent of its total output.
7. Ghana – 141.7 tonnes
Ghana is Africa’s biggest producer of gold. It beat South Africa to the top spot in 2019. Ghana is also well-known for its rich reserves of industrial minerals. AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and other majors in the industry have moved their attention from South Africa to Ghana because it is cheaper to mine these deposits. The West African nation, which has approximately 1,000 metric tons of reserve, moved up to number 7 on the list last year from number 10.
8. South Africa – 114.1 tonnes
South Africa was once the top-producing gold producer in the world. However, production has been declining every year since 2008, except for 2013, when it saw a slight increase. Many mines are closing because they cannot pay the rising electricity and labor costs. The Mponeng gold mine is 2.5 miles below the surface. It is still the deepest gold mine in the world.
9. Mexico – 112.2 tonnes
Mexico is still a reliable source of gold, despite the fact that production has fallen for the fourth consecutive year. The output has increased from 50.8 tonnes in 2008, to more than 130 tonnes in 2017, the most significant increase in nine years. Mexico is a great place to mine because of its low regulation costs. The 2019 slowdown can be attributed to disputes between contractors and local communities.
10. Brazil – 108.4 tonnes
Brazil produced 10 tonnes more gold in 2015 than in the previous year to take the number 10 spot. In the Amazon rainforest’s heart, illegal mining has increased dramatically in the past five years. President Jair Bolsonaro pushed for the country’s economic development and the tap of its mineral wealth.