Which Countries Produce the Most Gold?
Global mine production fell slightly in 2017, the first drop in mine output since 2008. In fact, gold production has generally increased every year since the 1970s. The drop in 2008 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.”
Peak gold is the point where the amount of gold mined out of the earth will begin to shrink every year, rather than increase. During the Denver Gold Forum last September, World Gold Council chairman Randall Oliphant said he thinks the world may have already reached that point. Franco-Nevada chairman Pierre Lassonde also expects a significant dip in gold production in the coming years. During an interview with the German financial newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft last fall, Lassonde said we’re seeing a significant slowdown in the number of large deposits being discovered. And in 2016, Mining.com analyzed the data and concluded there are no more easy gold discoveries.
Case in point – South Africa was once the world’s leading gold producer. It’s now dropped to number eight globally. Early this year, a study came out saying South Africa could run out of gold within four decades. Analysts say that at current production levels, the world’s fifth largest gold producer has only 39 years of accessible gold reserves remaining.
So, what countries produce the most gold? Here are the most recent rankings according to GFMS Gold Survey 2018 and reported by Forbes.
1. China – 426 tons
China has ranked first for the last several years. Production fell about 6% in 2017 due to government regulations.
2. Australia – 295.1 tons
Production increased by five tons last year, but long-term projections don’t look good. MinEx Consulting released a report detailing an expected drop in gold output between 2017 and 2057 unless the amount spent on exploration is doubled.
3. Russia – 270.7 tons
More than 80% of Europe’s gold comes from Russia. The Russian government is the biggest buyer of Russian gold.
4. United States – 230.0 tons
Production has increased for the last four years due to new projects in Nevada. The state accounts for 78% of US gold output.
5. Canada – 175.8 tons
The discovery of a significant gold field in northern British Columbia has bumped Canada higher up the list and could account for increased output in the coming years.
6. Peru – 162.3 tons
Output dropped for the second straight year in 2017.
7. Indonesia – 154.3 tons
Indonesia production is also on the decline. Mine output dropped 11.7% last year.
8. South Africa – 139.9 tons
We discussed South Africa’s woes above
9. Mexico – 130.5 tons
Mexican mine output fell slightly in 2017, but analysts say it should remain steady in the near future.
10. Ghana – 101.7 tons
Ghana ranks as Africa’s second largest gold producer. Output rose about 7 tons in 2017
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