Ever since gold was first discovered in the 19th century, gold mining has not only built the global gold industry, but it has also been a key driver of the overall global economy. Gold mining is a global business with operations on all major continents, and gold is extracted from mines of widely varying types and scale.
According to the GFMS Gold Survey, the worldwide gold production of 2017 reached a total of 3,247 tons, making it the first year with a decrease in gold production since 2008. The five-ton annual drop is due to environmental concerns, the rising costs of mining, and the illegal mining operations taking place within the gold industry.
South Africa was the world’s largest gold producer for decades, reaching a peak production of above 1,000 tons per year in the 1970s. During the last few decades, the gold mining industry faced big challenges that were mainly due to fluctuating prices and the high cost of gold mining. South America and South Africa remain the most impacted continents. Illegal gold mining remains a major problem for the South American gold industry. For example, it is important to draw attention to the devastation of vast lands in Peru’s Amazon rain forests. Also, the gold miners in South Africa have been struggling due to rising labor costs, water shortage, employee strikes, and racial tensions.
All these challenges have impacted the total global gold output. Because of these problems, the largest gold producing countries are constantly shifting rank, and they are in continuous competition. Here are the current top five largest gold producing countries:
China reached 426.1 tons of gold production:China is by far the largest gold producer on the planet today, accounting for more than 13% of the global gold output. The Chinese gold output declined in 2017 due to the strict governmental laws aimed at fighting environmental pollution.
Australia reached 295 tons of gold production:Gold output has played a major role within the Australian economy as gold represents half of Australia’s total exports. Experts anticipate a decrease in Australian gold production in the upcoming decades due to high gold mining expenses and a very limited government budget for exploration.
Russia reached 270.7 tons of gold production:Russia has been increasing its gold production for years in order to reach a goal of 400 tons of total gold production by 2030. Currently, Russia accounts for more than 83% of Europe’s gold output, which is worth 5,500 MT of the country’s total gold reserves. The largest buyer of Russian gold is the Russian government.
U.S reached 230 tons of gold production:The United States of America is the world’s fourth largest gold producer, consistently increasing its total gold output every year. The major U.S gold mining companies are the Cortez mine in Nevada, which accouts for more than 75% of the country’s gold production, and the Cresson mine in Colorado.
Canada reached 175.8 tons of gold production:Canada has ramped up its mining operations as well as its gold production budget in order to overcome environmental factors such as the continental glacier and to take advantage of the goldfield discovery that is creating the biggest gold rush in Yukon territory since the 19th century.
Overall, levels of mine production have grown significantly over the last decade, although substantial new gold rushes are increasingly rare and production levels are constantly fluctuating. The gold mining process has a very long timeline, since it often takes decades to move from discovery to production.
he major U.S gold mining companies are the Cortez mine in Nevada accounting for more than 75% of the country’s gold production, and the Cresson mine in Colorado.
Canada reached 175.8 tons of gold production: Canada ramped up its mining operations as well as its gold production’s expenses in order to overcome the environmental factors such as the continental glacier and to take advantage of the discovery of the large goldfield and the latest gold rush witnessed in the 19th century in Yukon territory.
Overall levels of mine production have grown significantly over the last decade, although substantial new gold rushes are increasingly rare and production levels are constantly fluctuating. The gold mining timeline is considered as a very long process since it often takes decades to move from discovery to production.