Indispensable – gold in technological production
News Arnulf Hinkel – 07.08.2017
The most common use of gold still is in the manufacturing of jewellery and valuable accessories. According to the World Gold Council, 480.8 tonnes of gold were used this way in the first quarter of 2017, which is more than for investment purposes. The production of gold bars and coins amounted to 398.9 tonnes over the same period. By contrast, the amount of gold used for industrial and medical purposes was significantly lower in the first quarter of 2017, but at the same time higher than demand from the central banks (76.3 tonnes). Nevertheless, the technological use of gold is an important demand factor since it is not only very stable, but also continues to grow in perspective thanks to a constant flow of innovation. At 62.1 tonnes, the largest share of industrially used gold is for electronic applications in the widest sense. As a highly effective conductor, gold is used frequently for numerous electronic processes limited to a small space, such as in smartphones, tablets, PCs, digital assistants or GPS systems. But even in larger electrical appliances such as smart flat-screen televisions, gold is an important component. In the electronics sector, the highest growth rates are expected for gold demand, since innovative technologies such as wireless chargers for smartphones, as well as 3D sensors for gesture recognition and 3D video applications, cannot be produced without gold.
Gold also plays an important role in the future trend of wearable technologies such as "smart" clothing. For the production of other industrial application ranging from medical devices to aerospace, 12.1 tonnes of gold were used in the first quarter of 2017. With 4.3 tonnes over the same period, dental technology represented the smallest share in gold demand. Although unlikely to increase in the future, it will certainly not decrease either, since there is as yet no equivalent alternative to gold tooth fillings regarding both durability and tolerability. In addition, gold is especially indispensable in the production of innovative technologies.