Top 10 gold producing countries
Mining Global takes a look at the countries with the highest gold output in metric tonnes
10 | China (455MT)
China continues to lead the world in gold production. Its 2016 mining output totalled 445MT. Topping all other nations in production for the past decade, the Asian superpower also emerged as the world’s largest gold consumer. The majority of the country’s mining operations are located halfway between Shanghai and Beijing. The China National Group is responsible for approximately one-fifth of all Chinese gold production. China National Group also has gold mining interests abroad and other mineral mining operations such as African copper. China has increased its mining initiatives by 10% annually and is expected to continue production accelerations to meet domestic demand.
9 | Australia (270MT)
Up to two-thirds of all the country’s gold is culled from mines in Western Australia. These operations are based out of Perth with the most productive open mining operations residing in the “Golden Mile” of Kalgoorlie-Boulder-Fimiston. The location has a strong concentration of gold and nickel reserves. The industry accounts for $13.5bn in exported revenue and Australia’s gold production backslid by 8MT last year.
8 | Russia (250MT)
Although Russia stands as a gold mining leader on the rise, it continues to import gold. Having leap-frogged the United States in terms of production, Russia still has vast unmined gold resources in Siberia. With approximately one-sixth of the Earth’s total landmass, Russia has plans to ramp up its gold operations. Over the next 10-12 years, reports indicate that Russia intends to raise its total output to 400MT. The massive nation that stretches two continents has the second largest gold reserves in the world.
7 | United States (209MT)
Nevada and ownership changes of other operations. Although many think about the California Gold Rush in terms of America’s primary location, the majority of US gold has been coming out of neighbouring Nevada, which yields 78% of the country’s total output. The United States maintains a massive supply of gold under lock and key in famed vaults such as its Fort Knox holding. The amount of US gold holdings reportedly equals to 75% of all other nations. The US also exports the most gold of any top 10 producers at $17.7bn.
6 | Canada (170MT)
This North American country has been on the rise in several economic factors and gold ranks among them, bucking the downward trend of some other gold leaders, Canada increased its output by 17MT from 2015 to 2016 after dipping from 2014. The country appears to be a gold riser and outfits such as the Agnico Eagle Mines are expected to expand operations and new ground is expected to be broken in areas such as Nunavut which go online in 2019.
5 | Peru (150MT)
The South American country saw modest growth from 2015 to 2016 to the tune of 5MT. It has held steady at number five or six for more than a decade although it produced a high of 208MT in 2005. Peru has faced significant struggles with gold mining in the 21st century. Operations have increased 400% but many are located in the difficult terrain of the Peruvian mountain tops. The country has also sustained reported damage to natural resources in the Amazon and illegal mining remains a challenge. Peru is the 11th largest exporter of gold with exports valued at $6.2bn.
4 | South Africa (140MT)
Shrinking reserves, increased labour expenses and abrupt production stops have contributed to South Africa’s gold production decline. The shortfall stood at only 5MT from 2015 to 2016, but in 2006 South African led the world in gold production at 272MT annually. Still, there are reportedly vast untapped resources yet to be unearthed and the world’s deepest gold mine is located in Mponeng, South Africa. The operation is said to have produced upwards of half of all the gold in the world.
3 | Mexico (125MT)
Mexico has been an economic riser in terms of GDP and manufacturing during the last decade. Its gold mining production has remained relatively steady. It dipped 10MT from 2015 to 2016 and stands at 125MT. The lower yield has been attributed to Goldcorp experiencing problems at the country’s top mine, Penasquito. But those numbers stand in stark contrast to just a few years back when the total output was a meagre 92MT in 2014 and the North American country did not make the top 10 list in 2011. Gold discovery has been increasing and it is expected to remain a top producer going forward.
2 | Uzbekistan (100MT)
The nation’s top mine, Muruntau, continues to be one of the world’s largest open pits and a steady producer for the central Asian country. Uzbekistan has been a top 10 gold player for the last decade despite little gold exploration being undertaken. It has hovered around 100MT for four years running and appears to be steadily and modestly increasing production. Muruntau has remained its primary gold producer since its discovery in 1958. Gold is the country’s number one export at a reported $1.88bn.
1 | Indonesia
The Grasberg mine stands as the nation’s richest gold mine, holding an estimated 25.8mn oz and more than 26bn lbs of copper. Despite reported labour conflicts, Indonesia increased its gold output from 97MT in 2015 to 100MT in 2016, restoring the Asian country as a top 10 gold producer for two years in a row. Indonesia had slipped from the list in 2012 and 2013. Although a major gold player, the nation’s Grasberg mine has primarily American ownership. However, a recent deal appears to have opened the door for the U.S. Freeport-McMoRan outfit to transfer a controlling stake to Indonesia.