10 Top Gold-producing Countries

China was the top producer in 2016, followed by Australia and Russia.

gold-producing-countries

2016 was an eventful year for the gold price. According to the most recent data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the gold price rose about 9 percent year-on-year, while the Engelhard daily gold price fluctuated through several cycles. 

The yellow metal’s lowest level came at the beginning of 2016, and it reached $1,372.98 per ounce, its highest price of the year, on July 6 after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

But while the gold price saw quite a bit of movement last year, production was steady. Global gold production came to 3,100 metric tons (MT) in 2016, the same amount as the previous year. As the USGS explains, that’s because an increase in production in Canada was offset by a decrease in Mexico.

Keep reading to learn more about the top gold-producing countries of 2016, based on numbers reported by the USGS.

1. China

Mine production: 455 MT

Once again, China was the world’s top gold-producing country with output of 455 MT. The country has now held that position for 10 years in a row.

In addition to being the top producer of gold, China is the world’s largest gold consumer, and has been for four straight years, according to the World Gold Council. That said, gold consumption in China dropped 7 percent in 2016. The drop was the result of higher gold prices and strained supply in the fourth quarter.

2. Australia

Mine production: 270 MT

Gold production in Australia took a bit of a tumble in 2016, dropping from 278 MT in 2015 to 278 MT.

That decline may have come because the country’s biggest gold producer, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM), reported a drop off in production in 2016. Specifically, the company noted that production from its Cadia operation was lower and said that it sold a mine in Papua New Guinea.

3. Russia

Mine production: 250 MT

Russia’s gold production held steady in 2016, but the country plans to increase output over the next decade or so; in 2016, it was reported that the country is planning to raise its annual gold production to 400 tonnes by 2030. Most of its additional gold will come from the development of local gold ore fields.

According to the USGS, Russia holds 8,000 MT of gold reserves, second only to Australia at 9,500 MT.

4. United States

Mine production: 209 MT

US gold production dipped last year, dropping from 214 MT in 2015 to 209 MT in 2016. Most of the gold in the country was produced at more than 40 lode mines, several large placer mines in Alaska and a number of smaller placer mines in the western Us.

The USGS further notes that the 26 top operations in the country were responsible for 99 percent of its gold output.

5. Canada

Mine production: 170 MT

Gold production in Canada rose noticeably in 2016. Last year, the country reported output 170 MT of gold, compared to 153 MT in 2015.

It appears as though gold production in Canada is only going to grow from hereon out. In February 2017, Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX:AEM,NYSE:AEM) announced plans to expand an existing gold mine and develop another one in Nunavut; they are expected to become operational in 2019.

6. Peru

Mine production: 150 MT

Peru saw a slight increase in gold production last year, with output rising from 145 MT in 2015 to 150 MT in 2016. The country saw its lowest levels of production and exports in 2014, and has since made a slight recovery. However, Peru struggled with illegal gold mining last year, as well as the year before.

7.South Africa

Mine production: 140 MT

South Africa’s gold production has steadily over the last several years. In 2016, production dropped to 140 MT from 145 MT in 2015.

Since 1980, gold production in South Africa has fallen 85 percent, and the decline has impacted the country’s economy drastically. According to Bloomberg, shrinking reserves, rising labor costs and frequent stoppages have all led miners to question whether they want to have a presence in the country.

8.Mexico

Mine production: 125 MT 

Gold production Mexico has stayed relatively stable over the last several years, although it dropped last year to 125 MT from 135 MT in 2015. Still, there have been a large number of discoveries and mine developments in Mexico over the last several years, and those have allowed the country to remain a top god producer.

9. Indonesia

Mine production: 100 MT

Indonesia’s gold production increased from 97 MT in 2015 to 100 MT in 2016. The Grasberg mine is the country’s largest gold mine; it holds 25.8 million ounces of gold as well as 26.9 billion pounds of copper.

10. Uzbekistan

Mine production: 100 MT

Rounding out the list is Uzbekistan, which produced 100 MT of gold in 2016, down from 102 MT in 2015.

The country’s Muruntau gold mine is one of the world’s largest open-pit mines. Uzbekistan has been producing from old mines for quite some time, and has not seen much exploration investment.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


This article is updated each year. Please scroll to the top for the most recent information.

In 2015, global gold production increased increased by just under one percent in 2015. According to Thomson Reuters GFMS, this is the seventh annual increase for gold production in a row, although that growth is slowing.

In its  latest report on gold, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), stated that the estimated gold price was eight percent lower in 2015 than in the year previous. Spot gold prices dropped 11.27 percent for the year overall.

Still, gold production was on the rise in top producers China and Australia, and with gold prices back up 18 percent so far in 2016, investors will be keeping an eye out for more production of the yellow metal coming online.

With that in mind, here are the world’s top gold-producing countries from 2015, as reported by the USGS.

1. China

Mine production: 490 metric tonnes 

China’s gold output continues to grow, with the country keeping the top gold producer spot for the ninth year in a row. Production increased from 450 metric tonnes in 2014 to 490 metric tonnes last year

In addition to being the largest producer by a significant margin, China is also the world’s biggest consumer of gold. After a steep drop in 2014, China’s gold demand was on the rise again in 2015, reaching 867 tonnes for the year excluding central bank purchases, according to Thomson Reuters.

2. Australia

Mine production: 300 metric tonnes 

Australia’s growth in gold production for 2015 put the country in the number-two spot for the year, reaching approximately 3000 metric tonnes. That represents a sizeable increase from the 2014 level of 274 tonnes.

In 2014, the Australian dollar exchange rate declined 25 percent over the course of the year, while the gold price fell about 37 percent in US dollars. As a result, many producers mined their richest deposits to maintain a profit in a practice known as “high grading.”

However, with the dollar price now at a record high in Australian dollars, a number of gold miners are hedging production at current prices. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM), one of the world’s top gold producers, has hedged a portion of gold production from its Telfer mine until June 2018.

3. Russia

Mine production: 242 metric tonnes

Russia saw a significant rise in gold production in 2014, leading the country to surpass the US for the first time in 25 years, RT reported. The country saw only a slight drop in gold production in 2015 to 247 tonnes from 242 tonnes the year previous, retaining its lead over the United States.

Russia holds an estimated 8,000 metric tonnes in gold reserves, second only to Australia, according to the USGS.

4. United States

Mine production: 200 metric tonnes

While gold production dropped about ten tonnes from 2014, the US still made the latest list of top 10 gold-producing countries, putting out about 200 metric tonnes of the yellow metal last year. The country has about 45 lode mines, a few large placer mines in Alaska and numerous small mines in Alaska and other western states. Of these operations, 29 produced more than 99 percent of the total amount mined.

5. Canada

Mine production: 150 metric tonnes 

Canadian gold production remained fairly flat in 2015, dropping just 2 metric tonnes from the prior year to 150, according to the USGS. A weaker Canadian dollar was a boon for Canadian gold producers in 2015; since many sell their gold in US dollars, the exchange rate provided a welcome buffer from falling gold prices.

In the first four months of 2016, however, the loonie has started to rise along with gold on the back of higher oil prices.

6. Peru

Mine production: 150 metric tonnes 

Peru’s gold production decreased slightly in 2014 due to several factors, including lower-than-expected production from aging mines as well as government crackdowns on illegal mining operations. Last year, Peru’s deputy mines minister, Guillermo Shinno, told Reuters that gold output will continue to drop until 2016 as a result of that effort.

Peru was able to bump its gold production back up for 2015 to 150 tonnes from 140 tonnes in 2014. However, the country still struggles with illegal gold production.

7. South Africa

Mine production: 140 metric tonnes 

South African gold production has been on the decline for some time. However, that trend reversed last year, with South Africa upping its gold output from 140 tonnes to 152 tonnes.

However, gold production in the country has still fallen 85 percent since 1980, and as the Washington Post notes, falling gold prices have taken a toll on South Africa’s economy,

8. Mexico

Mine production: 120 metric tonnes 

Mexico’s gold production held steady in 2015 with the country putting out 120 metric tonnes of the yellow metal compared to 118 tonnes the previous year. Over the past decade there have been numerous discoveries and mine developments in Mexico that have attracted a great deal of attention and have led to a more than four-fold increase in production in the country.

9. Uzbekistan

Mine production: 103 metric tonnes

Coming in 9th places was Uzbekistan, which upped its gold production by 3 tonnes in 2015. The country has long been producing from old mines, and has not seen much exploration investment. However, investments in gold and uranium exploration increased 25 percent in 2013.

The country’s Muruntau gold mine is one of the largest open-pit gold mines in the world. Overall, Uzbekistan holds approximately 1,700 tonnes in gold reserves.

10. Ghana

Mine production: 85 metric tonnes

Rounding out the list, Ghana’s production dropped slightly over the course of 2015, totaling 85 metric tonnes vs. 91 the year previous. To be sure, there were concerns that production in the country would drop significantly, as according to Bloomberg, falling prices caused several mines to suspend operations. However, the country’s year-end output was slightly higher than expected. Still, the story may be different for 2015.

“We will definitely record lower volumes this year,” Daniel Krampah, assistant manager of financial analysis for Ghana’s Minerals Commission, told the news outlet. “Some companies have placed their mines under care and maintenance.”

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

This article was originally published by the Investing News Network on April 28, 2016. 

 

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Comments
  • Dear Sir / Madam,

    There is no mention of Papua New-Guinea in your summary of gold producing Countries. Is this an oversight or is it because the big producers (Lihir,Porgera etc ) are owned and managed by expatriate Firms ? Thanks for an otherwise interesting and well researched report . DJSG

    Reply
    • According to the USGS, PNG produced 50 tons, so it ranks as 13th in the world for production.

      Reply

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