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What is the remaining amount of gold left to be mined globally?

In recent news, the price of gold surged to an all-time high last month, exceeding $2,000  per ounce.

This significant price spike, fueled by gold traders, raises concerns about the availability of this precious metal and when its supply will be exhausted.

Gold is highly sought after as an investment, a symbol of status, and a crucial element in numerous electronic devices. However, it is a finite resource, and there will come a point when no more can be extracted from the earth.

Experts discuss the concept of “peak gold,” which refers to the maximum amount of gold that can be mined in a single year. Some experts believe that we may have already reached this point.

According to the World Gold Council, gold mine production was 3,531 tonnes in 2019, a 1% decrease from 2018. This marks the first annual decline in production since 2008.

“While the growth in mine supply may slow or decline slightly in the coming years due to existing reserves being depleted and new major discoveries becoming increasingly rare, suggesting that production has peaked may still be premature,” says Hannah Brandstaetter, a spokesperson for the World Gold Council.

Experts suggest that even after peak gold occurs, there is unlikely to be a dramatic decrease in production in the immediate years following. Instead, a gradual depletion of output over several decades is more probable.

Mining companies estimate the remaining volume of gold in two main categories: reserves and resources.

Reserves refer to gold that is economically viable to mine at the current price. Resources, on the other hand, are gold deposits that could become economically viable with further exploration or at higher price levels.

According to the US Geological Survey, the below-ground stock of gold reserves is currently estimated to be around 50,000 tonnes. To provide context, approximately 190,000 tonnes of gold have been mined in total, although estimates vary.

Based on these figures, roughly 20% of the total gold remains to be mined, but this is a dynamic estimate. Advancements in technology, such as big data, AI, and smart data mining, have the potential to make previously uneconomical reserves accessible.

Robotics are also increasingly being utilized in mine exploration and are expected to become standard technologies. These innovations could optimize processes and reduce costs, potentially unlocking more of the remaining gold reserves.