While much of the Earth’s natural gold supplies have already been mined, gold mining production rates still average around 3,500 to 3,600 tons per year. So, where does this gold come from? The top 10 largest gold mines in the world are spread across almost every continent, though only a few key players control the major operations.
The Grasberg Mine in Indonesia
The Grasberg mine is an open-pit operation in Mimika Regency, Central Papua, Indonesia, containing one of the globe’s largest copper and gold supplies. The governments of Indonesia and Papua, plus Freeport-McMoRan, a U.S.-based company, operate the mine together. Grasberg has four underground mining zones that, as of its latest reports, contain 26.3 million ounces of proven and probable mineral gold resources.
The Muruntau Mine in Uzbekistan
The Muruntau deposit is an open-pit operation sitting in the Qizilqum Desert of Uzbekistan. Muruntau is the largest open-pit mine in the world, producing around 2 million ounces per year. The pit extends 560 meters in depth with an area of 3.5 by 2.5 kilometers.
The Cortez Mine in the United States
The Cortez Mine, owned by the recent historic joint venture between Barrick Gold and Newmont Corporation, sits in Nevada. The mine is expected to operate until 2031, with the surface and underground operations producing around 730,000 ounces of gold in 2022.
The Super Pit Mine in Australia
Sitting southeast of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, the Super Pit Mine is the biggest open-pit operation in Australia and one of the largest in the world. Super Pit is even deeper than the Muruntau deposit, at 600 meters, though its area measurement falls just a tad short at 3.5 by 1.5 kilometers. The operation employs over 1,000 miners and produces over 450,000 ounces of gold per year, based on data from 2019.
Numerous companies share stakes in Super Pit, including Barrick Gold, Newmont Corporation, Saracen Mineral Holdings, and Northern Star Resources. In the last 120 years since the start of its operations, the Super Pit Mine has produced over 60 million ounces of gold, equivalent to 50,000 bars.
The Yanacocha Mine in Peru
Situated in the province of Cajamarca, northeast of Lima, Peru, Yanacocha is the largest gold mine in South America or the fourth largest in the world, producing just under 1 million ounces of gold per year, based on 2014 data. It likely comes as no surprise that Newmont Corporation has stakes in this major operation, along with Compañía de Minas Buenaventura and the International Finance Corporation sharing stakes as well.
The Olimpiada Gold Mine in Russia
Situated in Krasnoyarsk Krai, the Olimpiada mine is one of Russia’s largest gold-mining operations, with an estimated resource of 48 million ounces. The open-pit operation currently employs over 3,000 individuals. Based on data from the mine’s owner, Polyus, Olimpiada typically produces around 2 million ounces per year.
The Carlin Uncomfortmity in the United States
Sitting in Northeast Nevada, the Carlin Uncomfortmity is historically known to be one of the wealthiest mining zones in the United States and the world. The area was discovered in the early 1900s and has been producing gold since 1964, which is a shockingly long lifespan when compared to the typical mine lifespan average of around 30 to 50 years. Mines sitting along the Carlin Uncomfortmity successfully produced over 70 million ounces by 2008.
Barrick Gold and Newmont Corporation currently own the mining zone, though Barrick Gold controls more shares.
The Lihir Mine in Papua New Guinea
Sitting in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea, the Lihir Mine is one of the largest gold mines in the world, with an estimated 45 million ounces of reserves. Newcrest Mining owns the open-pit operation.
The Goldstrike Mine in the United States
The Goldstrike Mine is another Nevada-based operation offering open-pit and underground mining projects. Nevada Gold Mines LLC owns and operates the project, but don’t be fooled by this new player, as it is simply the name for a joint venture between Barrick Gold and Newmont Corporation. The Goldstrike Mine is situated within the Carlin Unconformity, making it a high-yielding project, producing over 44 million ounces between the years 1986 and 2018.
The Boddington Mine in Australia
Situated northwest of Boddington, Western Australia, the Boddington Mine is Australia’s largest gold mine. The open-pit operation produces both gold and copper. Current forecasts show around 16 to 18 years of mine life for the operation, allowing it to continue yielding gold reserves until 2036.