Gold mines around the world come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s hard not to wonder where the true behemoths are, and who owns them.
The Investing News Network took a look at the 10 largest gold mines in the world, based on 2015 production figures from the Thomson Reuters GFMS Gold Mine Economics service.
Gold Mine Economics includes comprehensive data on 350 gold projects around the world, and Janette Tourney, senior analyst, mine economics at Thomson Reuters GFMS, took a moment to go over some of the latest data on the world’s largest gold mines.
The mines on the list are scattered all over the world, from Indonesia, to the US to the Dominican Republic. However, many of the world’s biggest gold mines are owned at least in part by Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX), the largest gold-producing company in the world last year.
It’s worth noting that the list below only includes mines for which information has been made publicly available. Tourney explained that production from the Muruntau mine in Uzbekistan has been a state secret for some time, but that it’s possible the mine is producing over 2 million ounces of gold per year.
“We don’t know if that’s the case, but if it is, that would make it the largest gold mine in the world,” she said. Without further ado, here are the 10 biggest gold mines in the world.
Production: 1.23 million ounces
Grasberg, a copper-gold mine in Papua, Indonesia is the largest gold mine in the world. The mine is mostly owned by Freeport-McMoran (NYSE:FCX), with the government of Indonesia owning roughly 9 percent of the complex.
The open-pit mine at Grasberg has been in operation since 1990, and is expected to continue until 2017. After that, operations will transition to focus on underground orebodies beneath and nearby the Grasberg pit.
In May, it was reported that Freeport is still trying to secure a contract extension at Grasberg. The current agreement allowing Freeport to mine at Grasberg expires in 2012, but the company is insisting it has the right to renew the contract until 2041.
Production: 1.05 million ounces
One of Barrick’s biggest gold mines, Goldstrike, is located within Nevada’s prolific Carlin trend. The property consists of the Betze-Post open-pit mine and the Meikle and Rodeo underground mines.
Goldstrike’s proven and probable mineral reserves as of December 31, 2015 were 8.5 million ounces of gold. Its production outlook for 2016 is expected to be somewhere between 975,000-1,075,00 ounces of gold at sustaining costs of $780-$850 per ounce.
Production: 999,000 ounces
Another large mine owned by Barrick and located in Nevada, Cortez just about ties with Goldstrike in terms of production. Cortez’s production of 999,000 ounces in 2015 is a 10.75 percent increase from its 2014 production of 902,000 ounces. In 2016, Cortez’s gold production is expected to fall in line between 900,000-1,000,000 ounces at a price of $580-$640 per ounce. As of December 31, 2015, proven and probable mineral reserves were 11.1 million ounces of gold.
4. Pueblo Viejo
Production: 953,000 ounces
One of the newer large gold mines in the world, Pueblo Viejo is owned in a 60/40 joint venture between Barrick Gold and Goldcorp (TSX:G). The mine is located in the Dominican Republic.
The mine’s production dropped 13.99 percent in 2015 from 2014 where they produced 1.108 million ounces
Pueblo Viejo was commissioned in 2012 and completed its production ramp up in 2014. Barrick’s share of gold production for 2016 is estimated to be between 600,000-650,000 ounces, while Goldcorp’s forecast is between 400,000-440,000 ounces.
Production: 918,000 ounces
Yanacocha is South America’s largest gold mine located in Cajamarca, approximately 800 kilometers northeast of Lima, Peru. Since 1993, it has invested more than $1 billion in environmental and social responsibility projects. Yanacocha is jointly owned by Newmont Mining (TSX:NMC) (51 percent) Beunaventura (44 percent) and International Finance (5 percent).
Production: 886,000 ounces
Carlin is part of a much larger Nevada gold operation owned by Newmont Mining. However, the company now reports production from Carlin individually. Last year’s production dropped by 2.32 percent from 907,000 ounces in 2014 to 886,000 in 2015.
Production 805,000 ounces
Lihir is another gold mine owned by Newcrest. This particular gold mine wasn’t on the 2014 top 10 list. Since 1997, Lihir has produced over nine million ounces of gold.
Production: 794,000 ounces
Production at Boddington jumped in 2015 by 14.08 percent from 696,000 ounces to 794,000 ounces of gold produced. Boddington gold-copper mine is one of the largest gold mines in Australia. It is owned by Newmont Mining, which bought out AngloGold Ashanti’s (NYSE:AU) share of the project in 2009. Boddington began commercial production in 2009.
Production: 743,000 ounces
Located in Russia, Olimpiada is an open-pit operation owned by United Kingdom-based Polyus Gold (LSE:POLG). Olimpiada began production in 1966, and is the company’s largest gold operation. It holds proven and probable gold reserves of 30.01 million ounces. While production jumped from 726,000 ounces in 2015 to 743,000 in 2015, the mine dropped from seventh place to ninth in the list.
10. Kalgoorlie Super Pit
Production: 640,000 ounces
Rounding out the list of largest gold mines in the world is the Kalgoorlie Super Pit, also located in Australia. Kalgoorie’s production dropped slightly from 2014’s 652,000 ounces produced by 1.84 percent.
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