Top 10 lists of world gold production vs. consumption by country
To gain a better understanding of the breadth of the gold industry and its importance in the world economy, it’s important to have a basic knowledge of top countries that produce and consume gold.
Interestingly, several of the top gold producing countries are also the top consuming countries.
Top 10 Gold Producing Countries
The list of top countries in terms of gold production changes every year, but the countries most frequently listed are generally considered to be the largest gold producers in the world. Supply troubles in any of these countries can lead to a price hike due to supply constriction. It’s important to keep an eye on political and economic events in these countries, particularly those countries that are not heavy gold consumers and instead focus on gold exports.
One trend in production is a reduction of gold mining in some countries due to environmental issues. Gold extraction techniques can take a toll on the environment. For instance, Thailand closed up all gold mines in their country due to these concerns. It’s certainly a trend in gold mining production that requires attention.
China produces more than 355 metric tons of gold per year. These mines are located in various regions in China, including the Xinjiang and Shandong provinces. Massive new gold mines have been discovered in recent years in Xinjiang province with one mine having up to 200 tons of gold.
Australia produces approximately 270 metric tons of gold per year. Most of the mines are located in Western Australia, but gold can be found in most Australian states.
The United States produces about 237 metric tons of gold per year. The largest mines are located in Nevada. In 2015, Nevada produced 78% of the gold produced in the US.
Russia produces around 200 metric tons of gold per year. This amount changes on a yearly basis and sometimes it will exceed the production of the US, bumping Russia to the third position.
South Africa produces roughly 190 metric tons of gold per year. South Africa has long been a major producer of gold and other precious metals, even during the apartheid period. In fact, for many years, South Africa was known as the world’s largest gold producer. However, production has dwindled slightly in recent years.
Peru produces an estimated 150 metric tons of gold per year. Much of the gold mining is in the Amazon area of Peru. Illegal gold mining is a problem that Peru is trying to stamp out to control environmental problems.
Canada produces about 110 metric tons of gold per year. Much of the mining is concentrated in the western provinces and territories of Canada.
Ghana produces roughly 100 metric tons of gold per year. Gold and trade is very important to Ghana’s economy. Minerals account for 37% of the country’s exports.
Indonesia produces approximately 100 metric tons of gold per year. The largest gold mine in the world is located in Indonesia. It employs nearly 19,000 people, but it’s not without problems. Chemicals used in mining are blamed for health problems in the areas around the mine.
Uzbekistan produces around 90 metrics tons of gold per year. Uzbekistan claims to have the largest open-pit gold mine in the world. The country is located in deep Central Asia and is landlocked. Transportation of gold produced needs to travel by way of plane, train, or truck.
Top 10 Gold Consuming Countries
In much of the world, gold is seen as the only true storehouse of value and wealth. As families improve their financial circumstances, they buy more gold. Depending on the country, gold investment may be in the form of jewelry, ornaments, coins, or raw gold bullion.
Even in the form of jewelry, gold is priced at commodity values so that it’s quite easy to buy and sell gold chains and other jewelry without losing a significant amount in the sale. In India and many Asian countries, local gold prices are displayed on storefronts.
China consumes roughly 984 metric tons of gold per year. It imports about two-thirds of the amount of gold it uses. Gold is used for industry, investing, and jewelry. Gold is readily available in China for all uses. In fact, some banks in China will sell gold coins over-the-counter.
India consumes approximately 849 metric tons of gold per year. This number is variable based on the economy at large. Its gold mining industry is minuscule so almost all of its consumption is imported. The major use of gold is for jewelry and other ornamental uses. Gold is also seen as a storehouse of value.
The United States consumes around 193 metric tons of gold per year. Consumption is mixed between industrial, investment, and jewelry use.
Germany consumes close to 124 metric tons of gold per year. A large amount of the gold consumed in Germany is for industrial use.
Thailand consumes about 90 metric tons of gold per year. Gold jewelry in the form of gold chains and other gold ornaments are sold in shops throughout the country. The price of gold is openly displayed on shop fronts. It is priced in the form of a “baht” of gold, which is about 15 grams.
Saudi Arabia consumes an estimated 85 metric tons of gold per year. Saudi Arabian gold jewelry is famous for its quality throughout Asia and represents the largest portion of its consumption.
Turkey consumes roughly 72 metric tons of gold per year. Turkey is a major consumer of gold for jewelry purposes.
Iran consumes approximately 71 metric tons of gold per year. Gold is used for jewelry manufacturing as well as investment purposes.
Vietnam imports around 63 metric tons of gold per year. Vietnam, like other Southeast Asian countries, uses gold for jewelry as well as value storage.
Indonesia consumed about 59 metric tons of gold per year. Much of the gold consumed in Indonesia is for ornamental and jewelry uses.
There are many different factors that affect gold prices, including gold production and consumption patterns. Understanding more about where gold is produced, where it is consumed, and even why it is consumed can help provide a better understanding of where the spot price of gold is headed.
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