World’s top gold-producing countries and industry insights

ByDaniil Filipenco

World’s top gold-producing countries and industry insights

In its finest state, gold is a dense, soft, highly malleable, ductile precious metal the color of which may vary from a light olive-brown to bright or dark yellow.

Because of its ductility and malleability, this metal can be employed in a wide range of applications, including wiring, electronics, dental care, and radiation protection where it is used to cover the interiors of spacecraft to shield humans from heat and infrared radiation.

One of the latest scientific discoveries involving gold was announced this year. Researchers at Hackensack Meridian Health and the Stevens Institute of Technology have created a novel drug delivery method that sends medications to tumors using gold nanoparticles with an extremely high level of precision which considerably lowers the risk of side effects.

Over the last two centuries, humankind has extracted approximately 86% of all above-ground gold, according to estimates. For the past two years, the price of an ounce of gold has traded between US$1,900 and $2,000.

Gold production around the world

Up until the last decade of the 19th century, the three countries producing the most gold were the United States, Australia, and Russia. South Africa subsequently assumed the leading position as a result of the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand Basin which is currently recognized as one of the largest goldfields in history boasting a mineral resource estimate (MRE) of 4.28Moz or 4.58g/t.

Global mine production in 2022 (as of 31 December 2021)

Source: World Gold Council

Today, over 40 countries mine a sizable amount of gold with China being at the top of the list, accounting for over 10% of all gold production.

Top 10 countries in terms of gold production (2022)

Except for Antarctica, gold mining is a worldwide industry. Gold is taken out of mines that range greatly in size and variety.

In 2022 the annual gold production around the globe exceeded 3,600 metric tons and three nations – China, Russia, and Australia – accounted for nearly a third of global gold output, each generating more than 300 tons of the metal.

Source: World Gold Council

China

Mine production: 375 MT

According to the World Gold Council (a membership organization that “champions the role gold plays as a strategic asset, shaping the future of a responsible and accessible gold supply chain”), gold production in China in 2022 was 375 tons which accounts for over 10% of global gold production. This puts the country at the top of the list as the world’s biggest gold producer. For over a decade, the production of gold in China has not fallen below 300 tons. State-owned companies dominate the gold mining sector and Shaxi Copper Mine is the largest gold mine in the country (over 27 MT).

Russia

Mine production: 324.7 MT

For the past decade, the production of gold in the Russian Federation has registered a continuous increase, hitting 324.7 in 2022, which is 9% of global gold production. The gold in Russia is produced by several private companies, the biggest being Polyus – the owner of Olimpiada, the nation’s largest gold mine is Olimpiada (over 30 MT).

Olimpiada gold mine, Eastern Siberia
Olimpiada gold mine, Eastern Siberia. Photo Credit: Polyus

Australia

Mine production: 313.9 MT

Based on data from the World Gold Council, in 2022 Australia came third in terms of gold production, registering an output of nearly 314 metric tons. This represents almost 9% of the total gold production registered in the world. Australia’s top gold producer is Newcrest Mining, with the largest mine being the Cadia Mine (around 17 MT).

Canada

Mine production: 194.5 MT

Canada managed to continue increasing its gold production, reaching an output of nearly 195 metric tons in 2022 which constitutes over 5% of global production. For the most part, the mining takes place in Ontario and Quebec provinces (over 70%). Agnico Eagle’s Detour Lake (over 20 MT) and Canadian Malartic (over 18 MT), owned by Yamana Gold and Agnico Eagle, are the two largest mines in Canada.

The United States of America

Mine production: 172.7 MT

In 2022 the U.S. produced nearly 173 metric tons of gold which is 5% of global gold production. The state of Nevada boasts the largest volume of gold production in the United States by far, being home to seven of the 10 largest gold mines in the country. The leading producer of gold in the U.S. is Barrick Gold which owns the nation’s largest mines – the Carlin Trend (44 MT) and the Cortez Mine (over 20 MT).

Final word

The production of gold is among the vital industries in the world. China currently leads the world in gold production, followed by Russia and Australia. In the future, the gold mining sector is expected to continue to grow with new ethical business practices and cutting-edge tech being employed, including AI and alternative extraction techniques, striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection, and sustainable resource management.