Concerns are mounting about whether the world has reached “peak gold” after the price of the commodity soared to a record high last month. The coronavirus has plunged the U.S. economy into a recession since February and the ongoing financial carnage has prompted investors to hedge against that volatility, driving gold prices past $2,000 per ounce for the first time in history in August. Rising political uncertainty in the U.S. is another reason demand for gold is rising with UBS recently warning its clients to buy safe-haven assets such as gold in case there is a contested presidential election that leads to further stock market volatility.
The level of demand for the precious commodity is now prompting serious questions about whether global gold reserves are being exhausted. Indeed, some experts think we have already reached “peak gold” with yearly production largely levelling off in recent years. In fact, mining is now on an ever so slight downward trajectory with the 3,531 tonnes mined in 2019 1% lower than in 2018 according to a BBC analysis of World Gold Council data. It also states that while new gold deposits are still being found, discoveries of large quantities are increasingly rare and the bulk of gold production still comes from older mines that have been in use for decades.
So which gold mines around the world are literal gold mines when it comes to the sheer quantity of metal unearthed? The World Gold Council data analyzed by the BBC shows that the Nevada gold mines in the United States produce 115.8 tonnes of the stuff per year, the highest amount on the planet by a significant distance. The Muruntau Gold Mine in Uzbekistan’s Qizilqum Desert is the world’s largest open-pit gold mine and it comes second in annual production with 66 tonnes. Russia’s Olimpiada gold deposit was discovered in the Severo-Yeniseysky District in 1975 and the mining operation there is the third-largest globally by volume with 43.2 tonnes mined per year.
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)