How much gold is left’ in the world?


Last month, gold hit a record high of hit 2,000 an ounce.

 How much gold is left’ in the world?


Although the price hike has been driven by gold traders, it raises questions about the supply of the precious metal and when it will end.

Gold is in great demand as a storehouse of wealth, a symbol of status and a key component in many electronics.

But it is also a limited resource, and eventually, there will be a time when there is no one left to dig.

Top gold

Experts talk about the concept of peak gold - when we can do the most mining in any one year. Some think we may have already reached this point.

According to the World Gold Council, gold mine production in 2019 was 3,531 tons, which is 1% less than in 2018. This is the first annual decline in production since 2008.

"While growth in mine supply may slow or slow in the coming years as existing reserves dwindle and new major discoveries become increasingly scarce, this suggests that production may still be a bit premature." World Gold Council

Even when gold peaks, experts say there is a dramatic drop in production soon after. Instead, we may see a gradual decline in mass production over the decades.

Ross Norman of MetalsDaily.com added: "Mine production has a flat line and its potential is going downhill but not dramatically."

Title: Gold Mining Production "Flat Line"

So how much is left?

Mining companies estimate the amount of gold that remains in the ground in two ways.

Reserves - Gold at the current price of gold

Resources Gold that, after further investigation or at a higher price level, will probably become more economical for me

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The amount of gold reserves can be estimated’ more accurately than the resources, although it is still not an easy task.


According to the US Geological Survey, gold reserves are currently estimated’ at about 50,000 tons underground.

To put this into perspective, a total of about 190,000 tons of gold has been’ mined, although estimates vary.

Due to these rough figures, mining is still pending. But it is a moving target.

New technologies could potentially extract some known reserves that are not yet economically accessible.

Recent innovations include big data, AI and smart data mining that could potentially improve processes and reduce costs.

Robotics is already being used’ on some sites and is expected’ to quickly become the standard technology for mining.

The biggest sources

The largest single source of gold in history is South Africa's Witwatersrand Basin. Witwatersrand has received about 30% of all gold made so far.

Other major sources of gold include the deep among mines in China, the Super Pit and Newmont Boddington mines in Australia, the Grasberg Mine in Indonesia and mines in Nevada, USA.

China is currently the world's largest gold miners, while Canada, Russia, and Peru are also major producers.

In terms of companies, Bark Gold's Nevada Gold Mines is the world's single largest gold mining complex, producing about 3.5 m 3.5 million ounces a year.

Experts say that although new gold mines are still being discovered’ the discovery of large deposits is becoming rare.

As a result, much of the gold production now comes from older landmines that have been in use for decades.

Difficult for me?

Large-scale mining is the ultimate capital, having used a lot of machinery and expertise for mining in many areas above and below the surface.

Today, about 60% of the world's mining work is surface mines, with the rest underground.

Mr. Norman added: "Mining is getting harder because of the large number of large, low-cost landmines and older mines in South Africa.

"In contrast, Chinese gold mines, on the other hand, are much smaller, and therefore more expensive."

There are relatively few unsafe areas left for gold mining, although perhaps the most promising is in some of the more volatile parts of the world, such as West Africa.

Record height
Although gold prices rose to record highs in August, this does not automatically translate into an increase in gold mining activity.

In fact, changes in gold mine production often lead to changes in the price of gold.

Ms. Brandstaiter at the World Gold Council added, "In the context of the operations involved, it takes time to change mining plans in response to changes in external factors such as the price of gold."

Also, record prices have risen during the Covid-19 ban, as sites have been shut down or partially shut down to’ prevent the spread of the virus.

Rising prices have been plagued’ by epidemics as investors see gold as a safe haven in times of economic uncertainty.

Impossible places
Although the amount of gold in the earth can be difficult to determine, it is not the only source. There is also gold on the moon.

However, the costs of mining and transporting it back to land are significantly higher than the cost of gold.

"Whenever it exists, it won't make sense economically. You'll lose a lot more money than you sell it," said astronomer Sean O'Sullivan.

Similarly, there are some gold deposits in Antarctica that can never be economical and difficult for me due to the extreme weather conditions of the continent.

Gold is also scattered along the surface of the sea but it is considered’ non-economic.

One of the factors of gold is that, unlike other renewable sources such as oil, it can be recycled. So we will never run out of gold, even when we can't fill it anymore.

A large amount of gold is used’ in electronics which is widely seen as disposable mobile phones. The average phone amounts to a few pounds of gold.

Efforts are already underway to recycle gold extracted from electronic waste.


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