Gold: a precious dilemma as it becomes scarce

The shimmering appeal of gold has enchanted humans for ages, yet beneath its radiant exterior, miners face escalating challenges.

According to the World Gold Council, the gold mining sector is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain production growth as the reserves of this precious metal become scarcer.


Discovering new gold deposits is becoming increasingly challenging as many potential areas have already been scouted, leaving limited unexplored territories. Large-scale gold mining requires extensive exploration and development, often spanning 10 to 20 years before a mine becomes operational.


Approximately 10% of global gold discoveries produce enough metal for mining operations. The success rates for exploration are quite low, and the chances of a discovery advancing to the stage of mine development are minimal.


Despite record first-quarter mine production in 2024, the overall trend is concerning. Since around 2016-2018, global gold production has plateaued, with no sustained growth.

In 2023, mine production increased by a mere 0.5% compared to the previous year. The growth rates have steadily declined over the past decade.


Globally, around 187,000 metric tons of gold have been extracted. China, South Africa, and Australia are at the forefront of production. The United States Geological Survey estimates that there are approximately 57,000 tonnes of minable gold reserves remaining.


The process of obtaining government permits has grown increasingly difficult, with bureaucratic procedures causing delays in mining operations. Additionally, remote mining projects necessitate infrastructure such as roads, power, and water, which adds to the costs and complexity.

In summary, the glittering seams of gold are thinning. Miners grapple with scarcity, regulatory hurdles, and the diminishing promise of new discoveries. 

As we dig deeper, the quest for gold becomes a delicate balance between ambition and reality.

Gold chart over one year

Gold chart over one year

Countries holding largest gold stockpiles of gold

Countries holding largest gold stockpiles of gold

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