Gold mining is a global business with operations on every continent, except Antarctica, and gold is extracted from mines of widely varying types and scale. At a country level, China heads the country list, and accounts for around 11% of total global production.
Despite widespread industry uncertainty following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gold is likely to maintain its status as a ‘sought-after safe haven asset’, according to the World Gold Council.
Looking forward, it believes gold may experience price volatility in either direction due to potential tactical positioning but investment demand is likely to be supported longer term by high inflation, geopolitics and overall market pullbacks – especially since many of the simmering tensions that took the back seat during the COVID pandemic are starting to resurface.
Indonesia produces around 4% of global gold production, half of which originates from the giant Grasberg mine. This mine, which is believed to contain the world's largest gold reserves (67.4MnOz), is majority-owned by the American company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and makes it the largest taxpayer to the Indonesian government. Its largest gold mines are located in Papua, Sumbawa, East and Central Kalimantan.
09: MexicoGold Production in Mexico decreased to 7058kgs in December from 7351kgs in November 2021. In 2020, gold mine production in Mexico amounted to 110 metric tons, an increase of 1.3 percent in comparison to the previous year.
08: UzbekistanUzbekistan ranked 8th in the world in terms of gold production in 2020 with an indicator of 101.6 tonnes. In 2019, the country mined 94.6 tonnes of gold. It is home to the world largest single open pit mine, the Muruntau which is a part of the Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine, and produced over 50mn ounces (1,600 tonnes) of gold to date. The reserves are expected to last until 2032.
07: BrazilGold Reserves in Brazil remained unchanged at 129.65 Tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2021, and gold production was reported at 80,000.000 kg in December 2020. The highest level history of gold production was reached in 1990 at 101728.00kgs.
06: GhanaGhana is the leading producer of gold in Africa. According to World Gold Council data, Ghana is the only African country to have appeared on the list of the top 10 leading gold producers in the world, occupying the 6th position with 138.7 tonnes of gold produced in 2020.
05: CanadaCanada gold production is expected to grow by a CAGR of 2.7% from 2019-2023 to reach 7.6Moz, with Ontario and Quebec driving the gold market. Alongside gold, Canada produces diamonds, nickel, platinum, uranium and cobalt.
04: USANorth America supplies around 16% of global gold production. The US dollar gold price declined by around 4% during 2021. Nevertheless, the average price for the year of US$1,799/oz was around 2% higher than 2020, as the price was relatively steady, holding within a broad range for much of the year.
03: AustraliaAustralia is in the top three gold producers and gold remains its third major commodity export. In recent years, the Australian gold sector has flourished, with record mine production and gold prices.
Historical data shows that gold has offered attractive returns during Australia’s monetary-easing and post-easing cycles. In four rate-cutting cycles since 1990, gold in Australian dollars averaged an annualised return of 2.6%, outperforming other major assets.
02: Russian FederationThe LBMA Gold Price PM jumped 6% in February, ending the month at US$1,910/oz. It’s the strongest m-o-m performance since May 2021, as weeks of rising tensions culminated in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and geopolitics taking centre stage.
Historical analysis suggests that gold has reacted positively to tail events linked to geopolitics and, despite price volatility, tended to keep those gains in the months following the initial event, according to Juan Carlos Artigas, Global Head of Research at the World Gold Council.
01: ChinaBy the end of 2021, collective holdings in Chinese gold ETFs stood at 75t (US$4bn, RMB28bn), a record high in tonnage terms. The 56% y-o-y rise in China’s gold consumption marked a strong comeback from 2020, and Chinese gold demand will likely remain strong in 2022, despite currency and inflationary pressures, COVID restrictions and slower GDP growth.
Social media analysis shows today’s young Chinese consumers are paying increasing attention to wealth management and often treat a gold jewellery purchase as an investment, with many preferring well-designed ‘chunky 24k products’.
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