The World’s Top Gold Producers in 2022
Who produces the world’s gold?
Gold mine production was up modestly in 2022, but it remains below the prepandemic peak.
Gold production full-year mine production came in at 3,612 tons last year. This was a 1% increase from 2021 and the highest output since 2018. But gold production still hasn’t rebounded to its 2018 peak. The World Gold Council said, “This lack of production growth gives further credence to claims that gold production is close to plateauing.”
Looking at the longer trend, gold production has flatlined in recent years, even accounting for the impact of the pandemic.
After slowing for several years, gold mine output fell by 1% in 2019. Although that year marked the first absolute decline in gold production since 2008, it continued a general trend of diminishing mine output.
Gold production has generally increased every year since the 1970s. There was a drop in production in 2008, but that was something of an anomaly, as it occurred at the onset of the 2008 financial crisis. The recent slowdown in mine production is more concerning. In fact, many people speculate we may be at or near “peak gold.” This is the point where the amount of gold mined out of the earth will begin to shrink every year. Some prominent players in the mining industry think we’re close to that point.
So, which countries produced the most gold in 2022?
1. China 330 tons – China has ranked as the world’s top gold producer for many years, but production has dropped over the last six. Mine output was down by 2 tons last year. More strict environmental regulations have put a drag on mine output.
2. (tie) Australia and Russia 320 tons- Russian mine output dropped by over 10 tons in 2022 while Australia saw a 5-ton increase in gold production. Both finished 2022 producing 320 tons of gold. Russia produces much of the gold consumed in Europe, but the Russian government is the biggest buyer of Russian gold. Up until 2021, Russia had increased output every year since 2010. Australia had boosted gold mine output for eight straight years until a dropoff in 2021. The minerals industry, including gold, makes up about half of Australia’s total exports.
4. Canada 220 tons – Canada leapfrogged the US to grab the #4 spot in 2021 and held that position last year, producing 220 tons of gold. Mine production in the Great White North was up by just over 14% last year.
5. United States 170 tons – Gold production in the US dropped below 200 tons for the first time in years back in 2020, and mine output has continued to decline since. Last year, the US mined 170 tons of gold. That was down from 186 tons in 2021.
6. (Tie) Mexico and Kazakhstan 120 tons – Mexico leaped from the #8 gold producer in 2021 to #6 in 2022 with 120 tons of gold mined. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan was far out of the top-10 in 2021. In the past Kazak mine output has averaged just 10 tons of gold.
8. South Africa 110 tons – South Africa fell out of the top 10 in 2020 but squeaked back into the #10 spot in 2021. Although gold production dropped by about 2 tons last year, it managed to move up to #8 due to declining production in other countries. South Africa once led the world in gold output. A 2018 study projected South Africa could run out of gold within four decades. Analysts say that at current production levels, the country has only 39 years of accessible gold reserves remaining.
9. (Tie) Peru and Uzbekistan 100 tons – Peru was ranked #7 in 2021, but a 27-ton decline in mine output dropped it down the list. Uzbekistan saw a 5-ton decline in output, but moved up one spot in the rankings.