Top 20 Gold Producing Countries and Gold Outlook
London-based consulting group Metals Focus have released their 2022 Gold Focus report which assesses global gold production over the past year. 2021 saw a 3% overall increase in mining output from 2020 to 2021. The group is predicting only 1.7% increase in the present year. Present levels are still just below 2019 levels despite the spot price of gold rising significantly over the past three years. There is no talk (yet) of peak gold production, but it may well be just around the corner.
Source: Metals Focus
China, Russia and Australia are the three major global producers, all producing well over 300 tonnes in 2021. With reported Chinese gold production down, Russia may well overtake China for top spot with Australia well within striking distance. Australia’s production and reserves still in the ground may be one of the factors behind Australia’s lack of physically held gold bullion. According to the RBA, Australia has 80 tonnes located at the Bank of England which we covered earlier this month: Gold Rush 2.0 and Australia’s Reserves.
China’s reduced output would be the shutdowns of major mines in Shandong Province in 2021. While many of those mines have started work again, it still opens the door to Russia and Australia to catch up. It goes without saying that some of the most sensitive information a country can share is ‘how much gold do you have’, and ‘where is it?’ As a result any unverified statistics coming out of China need to be taken with a troy ounce of salt.
Australia with approximately 10% of global output is likely to get another boost with yet another major mining district getting a reboot: Mount Freda near Cloncurry. Known as ‘The Golden Mile’, the Cloncurry region is home to eight high grade gold mines that were deserted in 1991 when the gold price fell below $240 an ounce. The ounces in the ground are now well worth the mining costs with Mount Freda owned by Tombola gold set to reach first pour by the end of the year.
The gold mining industry is a major contributor to the nation’s GDP, but labor shortages are cited by companies as the major factor holding projects back.