Last May, the head of the world’s largest mining company said we’ve found all of the gold. Goldcorp CEO Ian Telfer told the Financial Times, “we’re right at peak gold here.”
Peak gold is the point where the amount of gold mined out of the earth will begin to shrink every year, rather than increase, as it has done pretty consistently since the 1970s.
You could blow off Telfer’s comments off as hyperbole or the musings of a contrarian except that he’s not the only person in the gold mining industry worried about decreasing gold production. As a recent Business Insider article reported, many of the top people responsible for supplying the world’s gold say we’re running out of the yellow metal.
Gold demand will increase modestly in 2018 as mine production remains flat, according to an industry report.
Metals Focus released its Gold Focus 2018 report this week. It projects a 1% increase in gold demand this year with stronger physical investment, jewelry and industrial demand partially offset by a drop in central bank buying.
There’s been a lot of focus on inflation and interest rates and how they will impact the gold market in the coming months. But gold has two fundamentals going for it that aren’t getting nearly the same kind of attention.
Simple supply and demand.
South Africa may run out of gold within four decades, according to the Environmental Economic Accounts Compendium published by African Statistics Day.
Analysts say that at current production levels, South Africa has only 39 years of accessible gold reserves remaining. This is significant considering South Africa ranks as the number five gold producing country in the world, and could be another sign the world is approaching, or has reached “peak gold.”
During the Denver Gold Forum last September, the chairman of the World Gold Council said he thinks the world may have reached peak gold. That is the point where the amount of gold mined out of the earth will begin to shrink every year, rather than increase, as it has done pretty consistently since the 1970s.
Randall Oliphant is not the only high-profile person in the gold industry expressing concern about gold supply over the long-term. Franco-Nevada chairman Pierre Lassonde also expects a significant dip in gold production in the coming years. During a recent interview with the German financial newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft, Lassonde said we’re seeing a significant slowdown in the number of large deposits being discovered. The big question is how will the industry replace the massive gold mines that have produced large amounts of the yellow metal over the last 130 years or so?
Australian gold output will peak in just four years and then begin a steep decline, according to a report issued by a Melbourne-based industry adviser.
According to MinEx Consulting analysis reported by Bloomberg Business, Australian mine output will max out in 2021 and then fall by half into the mid-2050s, as aging mines close down.
During an interview at the Denver Gold Forum, the chairman of the World Gold Council said he thinks the world may have reached peak gold.
Peak gold means the amount of gold mined out of the earth will begin to shrink every year, rather than increase, as it has done pretty consistently since the 1970s.
Randall Oliphant said there are signs we’ve reached that point. He said in the near-term, production is likely to plateau at best, before slowly declining as demand rises, especially given global political risks and robust purchases by consumers in India and China
We’re not going to fall off a cliff in the near term, but in the same time it’s really hard to see how we’re going to produce enough gold to meet all this demand.”