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How much Gold is left in the World?

Published by Karl Martin Karus in category Articles on 08.11.2023
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How much gold is left around the world, what effect does gold have on economies, and what would happen if gold reserves started to decrease? has summarized it in the following text.

Gold is a finite resource that has been a symbol of wealth and power for millennia. As of 2021, known reserves are estimated at 50,000 metric tons, which might last around 15 years at current extraction rates.

However, this only paints part of the picture. Discoveries, technological advancements, and recycling play crucial roles in extending the life of gold reserves.

While easily accessible deposits may become scarcer, rising gold prices, innovative extraction methods, and alternative sources like deep-sea mining could ensure gold remains a significant commodity for years.

(The first solid evidence archeologists have of human interaction with gold comes from the ancient Egyptians in roughly 3,000 BC – Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash)

How Much Physical Gold Exists Today?

Gold – a precious metal that has captivated civilizations for millennia, remains a sought-after commodity in today’s market. But just how much of this gleaming metal exists above ground?

Current Estimates of Gold Reserves

As of 2021, the World Gold Council estimated that approximately 197,576 metric tons of gold have been mined throughout history. This figure encompasses all the gold ever extracted, including gold in jewelry, gold bullion, electronics, and other forms.

Factors Influencing Gold Quantity

  • Recycling: Much of today’s gold is recycled, primarily from electronics and jewelry. This recycled gold re-enters the market, reducing the need for new extraction.
  • New Discoveries: While the rate of new gold discoveries has declined, exploration continues, and new deposits can add to the global total.
  • Consumption and Use: Unlike resources like fossil fuels, gold isn’t consumed. Instead, it’s often reused or repurposed, ensuring that most mined gold remains in circulation in one form or another.

While gold can fluctuate based on discoveries and recycling rates, the current estimate provides a snapshot of the gold brought to the surface over human history. This figure may continue to grow as exploration and technology advance, albeit at potentially slower rates.

How Much Unmined Gold Is There?

The allure of gold has driven humanity to dig deep into the Earth, seeking out its shimmering treasures. Yet, a pressing question remains: how much gold is still waiting to be discovered?

Estimates of Unmined Gold Reserves

As of 2021, the World Gold Council’s data suggests approximately 50,000 metric tons of gold are in known reserves. These reserves represent gold deposits that have been identified and are economically viable to extract with current technology and market prices.

Factors Influencing Gold Reserves

  • Economic Viability: Not all gold deposits are currently profitable to mine. Fluctuations in gold prices can render previously uneconomical deposits viable and vice versa.
  • Technological Advancements: As mining technology improves, deposits that were once inaccessible or too challenging to mine can become feasible extraction sites.
  • Exploration: The Earth’s crust still holds many secrets. Continued exploration may lead to new gold deposits, increasing the known reserves.
  • Deep-sea and Space Mining: Future gold extraction might not be limited to land. The deep sea and even asteroids are potential sources of gold, though these ideas are still in their early stages.

(Photo by
Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash)


In summary, while a significant amount of gold remains unmined, the exact quantity is influenced by economic, technological, and exploratory factors. As we continue to innovate and explore, the boundaries of gold extraction will likely expand, offering new opportunities and challenges.

Read Also

  1. What happens if Gold runs out?
  2. The Future of Gold Mining


Gold price (XAU-SEK)
24957,40 SEK/oz
+ 46,30 SEK
Silver price (XAG-SEK)
336,16 SEK/oz
+ 12,10 SEK

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