Gold-Mining Industry Discoveries
This chart should tell you everything you need to know about where we are in the depletion cycle for gold, as even with the steadily rising prices between 1999 and 2011 (going from $300 an ounce to $1,900), gold discoveries plummeted in 1999 and remained on the floor thereafter:
Here we see that the 1990's decade saw quite a number of large discoveries that are currently in production but which were not matched in later years. Since it takes roughly ten years to bring a mine into full production following discovery, it's fair to say that we are currently enjoying production from the discoveries of the 1990's. Future gold production will largely be shaped by the discoveries made since then.
In other words: expect less gold production in the future.
Meanwhile, there will be more money, more credit, and more people (especially in the East) competing for that diminished supply of gold going forward.
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Source: Van Eck Global