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Mineable Gold May Be Gone in 20 Years

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A new report from Goldman Sachs warns that mineable reserves of rare commodities like gold may dwindle to extreme scarcity within two decades. This means that easily-mined gold is getting harder and harder to find. With less gold being pulled out of the earth, less gold is being refined and produced for consumers. In fact, 2015 may prove to be the peak year for gold production.

  • Peak gold discovery occurred in 1995 with 160 million ounces, which means that after 1995, less and less mineable gold has been found.
  • The rate of gold production tends to lag behind discovery by 20 years.
  • Therefore, as you can see in the chart below, gold production is likely to steadily taper off after this year.

15 04 02 20 year gold cycle


Given this data, the gold industry is about to enter a long-term — and possibly irreversible — period of less and less available gold. As mining companies find it harder to pull gold out of the earth, they will have less gold to pass along to refiners for the consumer market. Gold has always found its value in its scarcity, and that scarcity looks like it will only increase. As precious metals analyst Peter Grant puts it:

Peak gold is not a new concept at all… Mining output has been fairly flat for years, but new discoveries of gold have been falling rapidly… If we do reach peak gold in the near future, one would logically expect this to be broadly supportive to the price of gold for years to come.”

China and Russia appear to be the only exception to these trends — their gold production has increased. But we know that China exports very little gold and consumes astounding amounts of the yellow metal. Russia, too, has steadily added to its official gold reserves in the past year. If anything, Eastern countries like China and India are consuming far more of the world’s available gold than they are contributing, which could help extreme gold scarcity to come sooner than later.

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3 thoughts on “Mineable Gold May Be Gone in 20 Years

  1. jrj90620 says:

    Hi,I read this same thing,about a week ago,at another website.There is one thing,I would be concerned with.We’ve read the stories about peak oil and gas.Then technology allowed companies to produce oil from great depths,under the ocean.Also,fracking came along and now there is a surplus of gas and more oil.I’ve read that there is a lot of gold under the ocean and at least one company is going to be producing.If technology allows more production from the ocean,there may be a lot more gold be produced in the future.Only question,is what it will cost to produce?

  2. Ron A says:

    As with all commodities, the incentive for production/supply is demand and profit. It may be true that much of the easier or lower mining cost gold has already been extracted. However, as long as the gold selling price appears likely to remain low in relation to the cost of production there is little incentive to invest significant capital in exploration for new deposits or to open new, or re-open old, mines with higher costs of production. I suspect, “Mineable Gold May be Gone in 20 Years” is rubbish. As with oil, there is likely a lot more gold underland & sea than has already been extracted to date. Only the incentive of sufficient profit will find and obtain it.

  3. […] is unlikely to shoot up to $33,000 anytime soon. However, the amount of gold being mined continues to shrink, while global debt continues to rise. Long-term investors know these fundamental facts provide a […]

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