Mineable Gold May Be Gone in 20 Years
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.
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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