Figure of the month: 14 years
News Arnulf Hinkel – 01.08.2017
It is a well-known fact that the world's remaining gold deposits economically minable by today's technological standards are very limited. The continuously high global demand for gold over the last decade has exacerbated this situation. The very imminence of the end of gold mining becomes clear very quickly with a look at the remaining reserves of the gold mining countries.
In the US, for example, the minable gold reserves will last for another 14 years assuming production volumes remain steady. In China, the country with the largest production volumes and the strongest demand for gold, mining might come to an end in just 4.5 years, considering a production output of 450 tonnes a year, with a mere 2,000 tonnes of minable gold remaining. In the countries with large remaining gold reserves things look better: in Australia, the yearly production volume of 278 tonnes are offset against the world's largest national gold reserves of 9,500 tonnes. The Australian mining industry would thus be able to go on well over 34 years – only in theory, of course, because as soon as the first nation’s gold sources run dry, gold mining in the remaining countries will intensify to meet global demand. The same is true for Russia, which would be able to keep on mining gold for 31 years under the assumption of minable gold deposits of 8,000 tonnes. South Africa is in a similar situation with a production volume of 145 tonnes per year, offset against gold reserves of 6,000 tonnes. At least in terms of figures, South Africa would have the last word when it comes to gold mining.
Offsetting the entire global minable gold reserves against global demand, it will take 19 years before gold demand will either have to be covered entirely by recycling or through the development of new mining technologies to exploit the enormous gold deposits under the world's oceans.