We learn from chemistry class in high school that gold is a metal that has the symbol of Au and has an atomic number of 79. It is shiny, malleable and soft. It is a highly sought after item and is considered valuable and very precious. It used to be the standard for monetary policies of economists around the world.
More than 165 thousand tons have been mined, with half of it being used for jewelry and accessories, others for investments, and around a tenth for industry. It can be found in different parts of the globe, from South Africa and Australia to Russia and Peru. The United States is also a major producer, though China has supplanted them all. The top ten countries are responsible for more than two thirds of the world’s production output of gold, which totaled 2,700,000 kilograms in the latest calendar year available.
So what other areas in the world can gold be found? Here is a list of the top ten gold-producing countries in the world.
1. China – 355,000 kilograms
The world’s top consumer of gold is also its top producer. It has held that title since 2007. Most of its production comes from the province of Shandong. The China National Gold Group mines around a fifth of its output. China’s gold holdings stand at 1,054.1 tons, which is equivalent to 1.7 percent of its total foreign reserves. The country still has around 1,900 tons in reserves. China is on pace to break the 2011 figure of 355 tons produced, as it has already mined a total of 249.7 tons as of the second quarter of this year. That reflects a 10 percent increase from the same period last year.
2. Australia – 270,000 kilograms
More than 66 percent of gold mined down under comes from Western Australia, the location of the Golden Mile. It is the largest open pit mine in the country. Gold is one of the country’s top exports, allowing it to raise more than $14 billion each year. Gold reserves in the country are at around 7,400 tons. Australia has holdings of 79.9 tons of gold, equivalent to 9.3 percent of its total foreign reserves.
3. United States – 237,000 kilograms
Officially, the United States has the largest gold holdings in the world with 8,133.5 tons, equivalent to 75.4 percent of its total foreign reserves. The country has around 3,000 tons in reserves. Most of the gold mined in the country comes from Nevada, though the reopening of mines in Montana helped in the increase in production numbers.
4. Russia – 200,000 kilograms
Being one of the top producers of gold in the world has not stopped Russia from purchasing more from other nations. As of the third quarter of 2012, the country has already bought 57.6 tons to augment its reserves to 936.7 tons, equivalent to 9.6 percent of its foreign reserves. It still sits on around 5,000 tons of proven reserves, with most of it coming from Siberia and the Far East.
5. South Africa – 190,000 kilograms
The country sits on one of the world’s largest gold deposits at 6,000 tons, though production has been hampered by strife in the labor sector. As recent as 2006, South Africa was considered the biggest gold producer in the world. It has since dropped down in the rankings, with production increases abysmal. Still, the country’s holdings of 125 tons of gold are equivalent to 13.4 percent of its total foreign reserves.
6. Peru – 150,000 kilograms
The country is the largest producer of gold in Latin America. It has gold reserves of around 2,000 tons. Its official gold holdings stand at 34.7 tons, or equivalent to 3.2 percent of its total foreign reserves.
7. Canada – 110,000 kilograms
The North American’s official gold holdings stand at 3.4 tons, or a mere 0.3 percent of its total foreign currency reserves. The gold reserves waiting to be mined are only 920 tons, the smallest quantity of all the countries in the top ten. Most of Canada’s gold comes from Ontario, where Goldcorp operates the Red Lake gold mine.
8. Ghana – 100,000 kilograms
Ghana is the second largest producer of gold in the continent of Africa. It was once known as the Gold Coast because of the abundance of the precious metal in the area. It produced 100 tons of gold in 2011, and it still has around 1,400 tons in reserve. Officially, the Ghanaian government reports that it has 8.7 tons of gold holdings, which are equivalent to 10.2 percent of its total foreign currency reserves.
9. Indonesia – 100,000 kilograms
The country consists of more than 17,000 islands, but most of its gold production comes only from a few areas where the mineral is heavily mined. As a matter of fact, Indonesia is the home of Grasberg, which is the largest gold mine in the world. The 100 tons that it produced is actually a decline from the previous year’s output of 120 tons. The Southeast Asian archipelago still has 3,000 tons of gold reserves. The country’s official gold holdings stand at 73.1 tons, equivalent to 3.6 percent of its total foreign currency reserves.
10. Uzbekistan – 90,000 kilograms
It used to be part of the Soviet Union, before the latter collapsed in the early 90s. The country may have been deprived of water resources because of it being landlocked, but it certainly got blessed with tons of this precious metal. Total gold reserves that the country is sitting on are estimated to be around 1,700 tons. These reserves are programmed to last them until 2032 even if no new source is discovered. The state-owned Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat mine most of its gold, with estimates saying that the company is responsible for up to 80 percent of the country’s production. The main source of its gold is the Murutau mine, which is considered to be the largest open-pit mine in the world today.