Which Country is the World's Largest Producer of Gold?

Gold nuggets on a scale.
Gold nuggets on a scale.

Why is the production of gold so important? What are the trends and the economic influences that drive production and also price? To understand the first question we have to understand the demands for gold. Gold has commercial demand that it is fashioned into jewelry but also a financial demand as it is used to manage risk in financial portfolios and to protect the wealth of many. It also has peripheral uses in technologies such as the smartphone.

China produces more gold than any other country in the world. Asia as a whole produces 22% of the world’s total production. Central and South America account for 17% with North America contributing 15%. Africa produces 20% and the former Soviet Union C.I.S region 14%. Amazingly, gold recycling accounts for one third of the total production.

Below is a list of the top gold producing countries in the world. All numbers come from the US Geological Survey.

Top Gold Producers

1. China - 440 Tons

In 1990 the Chinese Government passed laws making it easier to buy gold. As a result, demand rose, as did investment in bars and coins. Today, China produces 440 metric tons of gold every year, more than anywhere else in the world. Another factor that may be responsible for the demand of gold is the growth of wealth in China. Since 1980 an increase of 20% of the population of China chose to live in urban areas. As the wealth per capita increased so did the demand for gold. Most of the gold that is produced in China remains in the country. Prior to China grabbing the top spot, South Africa used to be the world's largest production of gold. However, increased complications and costs linked to gold mining in South Africa has caused gold production in the country to decrease. South Africa is now the world's sixth largest producer.

Although China produces more gold than any other country, its reserve size is not that large in relation to other countries. Mines are found all over the country, with the city of Zhaoyuan, Shandong, called "the official city of gold" because of its large-scale gold production.

2. Australia - 300 Tons

The history of commercial gold mining in Australia dates back to at least the mid-1800s, when the first of the Australian gold rushes occurred. Today, Australia is the world's second-largest gold producing country, with about 300 tons produced by Australia every year.

Despite the country's high position, it is estimated that the majority of the gold reserves in Australia are not accessible and therefore cannot be mined for commercial purposes. Gold reserves are found virtually all around the country, with a particular number in the states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia. The largest gold reserve in Australia is the Boddington gold and copper deposit outside of Perth, Western Australia.

3. Russia - 255 Tons

As the largest country in the world, and one of the countries with the most natural resources, it does not come as a large surprise that Russia is among the world's most important gold producers. Russia's annual gold production is 255 tons. There are a number of minerals where Russia ranks among the world's top producers, including silicon, aluminum, and copper. The majority of Russia's gold production happens in the Far East of the country and in Siberia. Over the past ten years or so, gold production in Russia has been rising steadily.

4. United States - 245 Tons

The most important part of US gold mining history may be the California Gold Rush, but gold mining in the United States dates back to at least the 1700s. Today, the United States is the world's fourth-largest gold producer. Nevada is the largest producer of gold of all the US states, followed by Alaska.

The largest gold mine in the United States is the Goldstrike mine in north-central Nevada. It is also the largest gold mine in North America. The second largest gold mine is the Cortez gold mine, also in Nevada. The mines produce around 32 and 28 tons, respectively.

5. Canada - 180 Tons

Canada is the world's fifth largest gold producer, with 180 tons of gold produced annually. Similar to its neighbor to the south, Canada also experienced a Gold Rush of its own in the 1800s, particularly in the northern territory of Yukon.

A significant portion of the gold produced in Canada is harvested as a mining byproduct. Much of the country's gold is found in the Canadian Shield, a geological region found across the country. Gold was first discovered in Canada in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Top 10 Gold Producing Countries In The World

RankCountryMetric Tons of Gold Production
4United States245.00
7South Africa145.00

More in Economics