Gold output in South Africa fell for the 14th straight month in November. According to Bloomberg, it ranks as the longest streak of monthly declines since 2012.
Production fell 14% from a year earlier, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said in a statement on its website last week.
South Africa once led the world in gold production. The precipitous drop in the country’s mine output over the last few years is expected to continue and could foreshadow a long-term trend of falling gold production globally.
Gold production in South Africa dropped by 19% year-on-year in September, according to a report at Fin24.
This continues a trend of monthly gold mine production drops. South African gold output fell by 15% in August and 15.5% in July.
The country once led the world in gold production. The precipitous drop in output over the last few years could signal an overall drop in global mine output.
Tuesday marked the 167th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Since then, the Aussies have become the second largest gold producing country in the world. But analysts project gold output in the Land Down Under, along with several other key countries, could slump to “generational lows” in the midterm.
South African gold output saw its biggest drop in over a year in May, falling 16.2% year-on-year. This is another sign that the one-time world leader in gold production could be running out of the yellow metal.
May’s decline came on the heels of a 5.8% drop in production in April. It was the eighth consecutive month of declining output for South African gold mines, according to Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa.
So, here’s a little nugget I dug out of the deep, dark depths of the internet this week.
A truck driving along a major highway in South Africa lost its load. This caused a major frenzy, not to mention a horrendous Los Angeles-style traffic jam. And what did this truck dump that resulted in such chaos?
Gold supply plateaued last year. Global mine output rose just a paltry 5.7 tons in 2017, according to data compiled by the World Gold Council. That represented the smallest increase since 2008.
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?