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How much gold is there left to mine and what happens if Gold runs out?

Published by Karl Martin Karus in category Precious metals on 04.01.2021
Gold price (XAU-SEK)
14 991,70 SEK/oz
  
+ 296,30 SEK
Silver price (XAG-SEK)
218,97 SEK/oz
  
+ 3,81 SEK

To date, about 244,000 tons of gold have been discovered on earth – about 187,000 tons have been produced and the underground reserves amount to about 57,000 tons.

Today, gold comes largely from only three countries, China, Australia, and South Africa. In 2016, the USA ranked fourth in gold production.

Fun fact: All the gold discovered so far would fit into a cube 28 meters wide on each side.

Most of the time, gold is used to make jewelry, investment gold products and is widely used in industrial sectors – Gold is used in computers, communications equipment, jet aircraft engines and many other products.

How much gold is left?

The volume of gold reserves can be calculated more accurately than resources, although this is still not an easy task. According to the US Geological Survey, the underground gold reserves are currently estimated at about 50,000 tons. From this perspective, a total of around 190,000 tonnes of gold has been mined like mentioned before, although these numbers vary.

According to these approximate figures, there is still about 20% of the world’s gold that needs to be mined. However, this is a moving number.

New technologies may make it possible to extract some known reserves, which are currently uneconomical.

The latest innovations include the use of big data, artificial intelligence, and smart data mining, which can optimize processes and reduce costs.

Robotics is already being used in some places and is expected to become an increasingly standard technology in mine exploration.

Will the price of gold start to rise when gold runs out?

Goldman Sachs analyst Eugene King has also expressed an opinion on this topic and said that the World has about 20 years of gold reserves that can still be mined.

If the predictions of Eugene King and others turn out to be accurate and indeed the gold reserves in the earth’s crust run out in the next decade, this will not necessarily mean the end of gold mining. Research is continuing, new technologies are being introduced and perhaps completely new places to be mined are being discovered. However, mining costs can be much more expensive.

It is also likely to see big gold mining giants merge in the future, to make the mining process more cost-effective and profitable.

If gold runs out, the market price could rise dramatically. To how high it is still difficult to predict today. The author Jim Rickards says in his book “The New Case for Gold” that an ounce of gold can go up to $10,000. However, GoldMoney founder James Turk says it could go as high as  $12,000 per ounce. If you think that this price is too optimistic, you can check out how rapidly gold prices have increased in the last 50 years, since the end of the gold standard in 1971 here: How much gold is there left to mine and what happens if Gold runs out?

What are the opportunities for more gold mining?

From the seafloor. Alternatively, gold miners might choose to become gold divers. Recent discoveries of precious metals deposits surrounding thermal vents on the seafloor suggest that certain prime seabed locations could contain gold deposits at concentrations of as much as 6 grams per metric ton. Should such deposits turn out to be common, the rising price of gold combined with the diminishing supply of gold on land could spur a new gold rush underwater — and multiply the amount of gold that (we thought) was left in the world. (4)

At lower densities. Experts surmise that even at the ultra-diluted levels of average concentration, the top four kilometers of Earth’s crust alone contain as much as 122 billion metric tons of gold (let alone what’s in the seas). This suggests that if new technologies should be developed permitting profitable extraction of gold at lower-than-usual gold densities, there could be a lot more gold left in the world — discoverable, mineable, and refinable — than currently seems to be the case. (4)

In space. Even if all gold reserves on Earth were to be exhausted, the world might still not run out of gold. Looking skyward, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has suggested that individual space rocks making up the Asteroid Belt could be literally loaded with gold — perhaps as much as a half-ton or more contained in the core of any given asteroid. While Dr. Tyson didn’t go so far as to promise that this would be true of every asteroid in the Belt, there are more than 150 million asteroids of more than 100 meters in diameter in the Asteroid Belt to choose from. (4)

It may come true sooner than we think. Barack Obama signed a law that would allow minerals to be mined on asteroids and on the Moon. It is believed that many asteroids are packed with trillions of dollars worth of precious metals and other minerals. (3)

The reasonable possibility as well as financial plausibility to get this gold remains distant today. Coming back to earth and today, you can get physical gold by placing an order today!

Check out our special offers:

1 oz South African Krugerrand Gold Coin

1 oz Canadian Maple Leaf Silver Coin

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an investment analysis or recommendation to sell or buy commodities. Tavex is not responsible for any decisions made based on this information. Investing is associated with opportunities and risks, and the market value of commodities can both increase and decrease. Past or future yields on the commodities and financial ratios shown above do not represent a promise or an indication of future earnings.

(1) https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-much-gold-has-been-found-world?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products

(2) https://www.bbc.com/news/business-54230737

(3) https://www.businessinsider.com/were-running-out-of-gold-and-the-price-will-go-up-2016-8

(4) https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/05/12/how-much-gold-is-left-in-the-world.aspx

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