How Much Gold Has Been Mined? How Much Gold is Left?

In the fall of 2020, gold prices rose above $2000 an ounce. The price was mainly pushed up by traders speculating on the market, wondering if there was much gold left to be mined. Some people even wonder if the gold supply could run out soon.

Because this is the ultimate investment tool—the one by which all others are measured—the question of how much gold is left in the world and when it will run out is a fair one to ask. Read further to learn more about this limited resource and how it could change the way the world invests.

What is Peak Gold?

Peak gold is the idea that there is no way the gold industry can mine more in a year than it already has. Some people believe that has already occurred. For example, gold mines churned out 3531 tons in 2019, but that was only one percent lower than in 2018. Those in the gold trade believe that saying we have reached “peak gold” is a bit hasty because new reserves could be discovered.

Peak Gold is Not the End

Peak gold will not spell the end of major gold production. It simply means the supply is slowly starting to run dry. A representative from Metals Daily says that he believes the flat-line does not mean there will be a precipitous drop in production.

What he means by flat-lining is that gold production is not on the rise. There is no way to know how much gold production will change over the next few years. It may remain somewhere around the 3500-ton mark for some time, but it will start to dip slowly.

In our lifetime, gold production might drop by a small percentage every year, but that would only bring the number closer to 3000 tons—not zero.

How Much Gold is Left?

a miners hand with a gold nugget

Every mining company in the world has its estimate of how much gold is left because they all control different mines, do not share much information, and use their projections to determine how much remains. However, most of these companies calculate how much gold is left by determining the size of the reserves and the quality of the resources.

Gold Reserves

The gold reserve volume is a point of debate because it is difficult to calculate. With every mining company controlling its resources, geologists looking for gold around the world, and the lack of a central information hub, everyone comes up with a different figure.

The US Geological Survey believes that approximately 50,000 tons of gold remain below ground, still to be mined. This is just an estimate because the USGS only has so much information. However, it is interesting to note that 190,000 tons have already been mined throughout human history, which would suggest that four-fifths of the world’s gold supply has been mined so far.

New Technology

New technology might improve access to gold reserves that are not currently reachable. This is due in large part to how expensive it is to mine gold. When corporations or even startups come along with new ways to mine gold, those reserve numbers are likely to rise.

Some recent changes to the industry include the use of things like artificial intelligence, smart data, the collection of multiple data points, and other forms of computer processing. Robots and robotic instruments are in use in certain mines around the world, and their intervention might make it even safer to mine for gold.

A company, for example, that owns a gold reserve it cannot tap can start a new operation focused purely on that reserve.

Mining Costs Money

Even with new technology, gold mining costs money. As a result, large mining companies still need to be careful about how much they spend every year. For example, all the largest mines in places like South Africa are also dried up. Those mines cost less to manage due to their size.

On the other hand, small mines in China require far more safety precautions and equipment, which drives up the cost of managing the mine.

In spite of this, the gold mining industry has seen record highs in prices coinciding with:

  • A record-high price in August of 2020
  • A scramble among gold mining companies to increase production
  • COVID-19 restrictions making it even harder and more expensive to mine
  • Gold companies wanting to keep the market flush with gold as investors flock to gold for security

Where is Gold Coming from Today?

Gold can come from a wide range of sources. Gold mines the world over have sparked economic revolutions and the massive growth of cities, such as San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. Some of the biggest sources today are found in places like Australia, Indonesia, and South Africa.

The largest mine in history is the Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa. While South Africa is a popular mining location for all sorts of precious materials, including diamonds, its true fame comes from gold. There are also mines like the Mponeng that provide massive reserves. The Super Pit of Australia is sizable, as are several mines in Indonesia.

Currently, the largest mines by production are:

  • Nevada Gold Mine
  • Muruntau in Uzbekistan
  • Olimpiada in Russia
  • Pueblo Viejo in Dominican Republic
  • Lihir in Papua New Guinea
  • Cadia Valley in Australia
  • Grasberg in Indonesia
  • Kibali in DR Congo
  • Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali
  • Boddington in Australia

Gold in Space

While this may sound like a science fiction movie, gold could be found in or on the moon. This is the most unlikely source to tap into but is one that piques the interest of gold companies the world over. As space flight becomes more routine, there are those saying that the costs of mining and transporting back to Earth will continue to drop until it is feasible to do so.

Antarctica

Antarctica has gold deposits that companies may never reach due to the extreme cold and the difficulty of transport. Even if a company could lay a claim in Antarctica, the teams that live and mine gold there would fight freezing temperatures all year, making the process that much more difficult.

Ocean

research vessel exploring the ocean for gold

There is gold on the ocean floor, caught up in the silt that pushes along with the current. This type of gold would be similar to gold panned by settlers in places like Dahlonega, Georgia. Plus, any gold reserves found on the ocean floor would be flooded as soon as drilling started. The cost of recovering the gold is too high, even though those reserves might replenish the global supply.

Gold Recycling

Unlike oil, gold can be recycled. Companies are popping up every day hoping to recycle gold and reintroduce it into the market. Their viability depends on our continued need for gold for a wide range of things, from jewelry to electronics.

Learn More About Gold Investing with Oxford Gold Group

Why waste your time trying to invest in a virtual currency that you cannot touch, relies on a computer program, and could crash at any minute? It makes far more sense to invest in a precious metal that has been the backbone of civilization for centuries. The US government backs its currency with gold, and you can use it to back your investments. At Oxford Gold Group, we put your interests first as we create an investment plan that suits your needs.

When you invest in gold with Oxford Gold Group, we make sure that you can protect your retirement savings and thrive in the future because you are investing in the most secure asset in the world. We can show you how to use IRAs and 401(k)s to make retirement easier for our clients, and we can also show you how we have used gold to supplement these investments for every customer. You don’t need to be rich to invest in gold—just savvy.

For additional assistance with your gold investment plans, call us at 1-833-600-GOLD (4653) or take a look at our contact page for more specific information.

You can request our precious metals e-book today if you want to learn more about this segment of the market.

At Oxford Gold Group, we make sure to protect your privacy and value your information as if it were our own. We have an honest and dedicated staff trained to keep your information safe during these difficult times. When you contact us, you get customized customer support for any issue that you are facing. Because you are different from every other customer, we make sure to give you personalized care, listen to your needs, and understand how we can help you right now. We never leave you out of the loop. Our customers are seen, heard, and understood at every step of the investment process. Call our gold experts today if you want Oxford Gold Group to help secure your financial future.

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