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How Much Gold is There in the World?

Published by honor in category Precious Metal Information Guides on 20.05.2024
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According to the most recent estimations, approximately 212,582 tonnes of gold have been extracted throughout history. Almost two thirds of this have been extracted since 1950.

Gold has captivated human civilisation for millennia, symbolising wealth, power, and beauty. From ancient artefacts to modern investment portfolios, gold remains a highly valued commodity.

But how much gold is there in the world today? Let’s delve into the numbers and understand the true extent of the world’s gold reserves.

Total Amount of Gold Ever Mined

Historical Gold Production

According to the World Gold Council, the total amount of gold ever mined is estimated to be around 212,582 tonnes. This figure includes all the gold extracted throughout history, from ancient civilisations to modern times. The vast majority of this gold is still in use today in various forms such as jewellery, bullion, and technology.

Modern Gold Reserves

gold mined over time

Source: World Gold Council

As of recent estimates, about 54,000 tonnes of gold remain in known underground reserves. This amount represents the gold that is economically viable to extract with current technology and market conditions. However, it’s important to note that this figure can change as new reserves are discovered and as mining technology advances.

Read more on the topic: Top 7 countries with the most gold reserves

Distribution of Gold

Gold in Private Holdings

A significant portion of the world’s pure gold is held privately. Jewellery accounts for nearly half of all gold, with approximately 92,000 tonnes. Investment holdings, including gold bars and coins, account for another 44,000 tonnes.

Central banks and official institutions hold around 33,000 tonnes, serving as a reserve asset to support national currencies

Read more on the topic here: 5 reasons why central banks buy gold

Gold in Technological Uses

Gold is not just a symbol of wealth in precious metal; it also has practical applications, especially in technology. Around 27,000 tonnes of gold are estimated to be used in electronics, medical devices, and other technological applications. Gold’s unique properties, such as conductivity and resistance to tarnish, make it invaluable in these fields.

Annual Gold Production

1kg gold bar

Mining Output

The annual global gold production varies but typically ranges between 3,000 and 3,500 tonnes. The leading producers include countries like China, Australia, Russia, the United States, and South Africa. These nations have extensive mining operations and advanced technologies to extract gold efficiently.

Recycling of Gold

gold recycling

In addition to mining, a significant amount of gold enters the market through recycling.

Gold recycling accounts for about 25-30% of the total annual supply

Old jewellery, industrial scrap, and other gold-containing products are refined and reused, contributing to the overall gold availability.

The Future of Gold Supply

Exploration and Innovation

The future of gold supply hinges on exploration and technological innovation. New mining sites are continually being explored by gold mining companies, and advancements in mining technology could make previously uneconomical reserves viable. However, the environmental impact and regulatory challenges remain significant considerations for future gold mining operations in the long term.

Sustainable Practices

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the gold mining industry. Responsible gold mining principles are becoming more important.

Efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of mining activities and ensure fair labor practices among gold miners are gaining traction

Responsible gold mining not only helps preserve the environment but also supports local communities and economies.

Conclusion

The world has a vast amount of gold, with nearly 212,582 tonnes mined throughout history and significant reserves still underground. Gold is distributed across various sectors, from jewellery and investments to technological applications. Annual production and recycling efforts ensure a steady supply, but future gold availability will depend on continued exploration, innovation, and sustainable practices.

Understanding the total amount of gold in the world helps us appreciate its value and the efforts required to extract and manage this precious resource. Whether as a symbol of wealth or a crucial component in technology, gold continues to play a vital role in our global economy and culture.

Gold price (XAU-GBP)
1,839.58 GBP/oz
  
+ GBP3.73
Silver price (XAG-GBP)
23.40 GBP/oz
  
+ GBP0.05

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