Visualised Review of the Gold Industry

By Tomasz Wisniewski|

Published: May 28 2021, 08:23 GMT+0

Visualised Review of the Gold Industry

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Gold is one of the most popular, valued and ancient precious metals that civilisation has ever embraced. The very first exchanges after commodities were based on gold and it has retained a significant value till today. Therefore, gold trading is something that everyone has heard of nowadays and quite a few people are investing in gold actively. During the economic turmoils or political instabilities gold was always a safe haven for investors and a reliable resource to hold onto. We decided to provide a brief overview of the gold industry at the moment with illustrated points and figures. 

Gold Industry Explained

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Gold Mined in 2020

Gold is perhaps the most exchanged goods in the world. However, at the same time it is likewise perhaps one of the most complex markets, since it is used in numerous industries and as a store of wealth. Historically, the prices of gold were always influenced by the economic and political events happening worldwide and 2020 was not an exception. Due to the furious COVID19 pandemic hitting different financial markets, the gold market went through extreme volatility on a global scale in 2020. 

However, the production of gold has seen a significant increase, especially in China for the year. Despite the Chinese domination, the production rate was still slower than for 2019. Global gold production reached 3,200 metric tons in 2020, which is 331 tons less than the amount in 2019. It is still a huge number though, equivalent to 842,105 golden Oscar statues, 14 Statues of Liberty or one tenth of an Oil Rig.

Top Gold Producing Countries

Major corporations are the main mass-producers of gold. However, there are millions of workers scattered worldwide that mine independently and are part of little artisan operations, which frequently is illegal. In terms of the top gold producing countries in the world the four states are dominating on the list. China, Australia, Russia and the United States are the largest gold mining countries globally today. 

Around 1/3 of the total gold mined for 2020 was accomplished by the six gold producing countries. China produced over 380 tons, Australia mined 320 tons, Russia contributed 300 tons, while the United States produced 190 tons. Canada and Indonesia mined 170 tons and 130 tons of gold respectively in 2020. 

Surprisingly, the top producers are not on top of the list of the countries with the largest gold reserves. Only three of the top producers appear on the list and not proportionally. The United States is in first place with over 8,000 tons, Germany is the second with around 3,300 tons of gold in reserves, Italy and France both with 2,400 tons, Russia with 2,200 tons and China with 1,900 tons. 

Biggest Gold Mine

The gold cannot be mined anywhere. The deposits of gold can be found in few countries across the globe where the major gold producing corporations will establish gold mines. At the moment, the largest gold mine can be found in South Africa and the United States is to follow. Other significantly massive gold maines can be found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Dominican Republic, Russia and Australia. 

The largest gold mine is a South Deep gold mine located in South Africa with massive gold deposits. At least 82.8 million ounces of gold are available in the area. The gold reserve is located within 45 kilometers from Johannesburg. At the same time, it serves as the 7th deepest mine in the world with a depth of over 2,998 meters below the surface. The gold has been mined at South Deep since 1961. 

Gold Consumption

Nowadays, we encounter gold or golden products almost everywhere in our daily lives. Especially, if we observe its immense role in our culture and society, then it becomes evident that gold is a multi-purpose cultural good found in wedding rings, sports medals and trophies, monets, jewellery, Grammys, art and much more. However, the industrial uses of gold greatly vary from the trading value of the precious metal

Gold is most frequently used in the jewelry industry and the industry takes up to 37.1% of the total gold consumption worldwide. Central banks also massively use gold, however, much less compared to jewelry – taking up to 8%. This precious commodity has an important place in the manufacture of electronics in order. It drives the consumption of gold in the technological industry up to 7%. Surprisingly, the largest share of gold consumption goes to investment in bullions, coins and certificates estimated to be at 46.9% of the total consumption. 

Largest Gold Mining Companies

It is a little bit tricky to rank the top gold mining companies, since the ranking involves various methods that would produce different lists. A one way to assess them is to compare their annual production. We could also rank them according to the cash cost per ounce or how cost-efficiently they produce gold. However, the most popular method of ranking is by using a market capitalization. It means to compare the companies according to their total value of capital holdings by the company. 

Some of the best gold producing companies include:

  • Newmont in the United States – stock price 71.16 USD
  • Barrick in Canada – stock price 24.60 USD
  • AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa – stock price 24.76 USD
  • Polyus in Russia – stock price 102.70 USD
  • Kinross in Canada – stock price 8.10 USD
  • Gold Fields in South Africa – stock price 11.64 USD
  • Newcrest in Australia – stock price 22.28 USD
  • Agnico Eagle in South Africa – stock price 71.56 USD

Major events in recent gold history

Gold history accounts for many centuries and has experienced a lot of ups and downs since its initial birth into the civilization’s economy. However, the past 50 years have also been quite overwhelming for gold traders and gold producing companies. At the end of the 1970s, the gold industry was greatly affected by the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan. As a consequence of Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the gold prices had hit 850 USD per ounce, up from 400 USD just a year before. 

A recent commodity boom of the 2000s also pushed the prices of gold higher as the interest rates kept increasing. The price of the gold eventually reached 973 USD only to double up in a few years. The housing crisis that all of us remember quite well resulted in rapidly increasing rates on gold. Ultimately, gold was trading at 1850 USD in 2010-11. The current pandemic induced situation and economic disruption once again increased the demand on gold. Subsequently, the gold was trading at over 2,000 USD per ounce by the end of 2020.