In this article, we will be taking a look at the top 15 gold producing countries in the world. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the top 5 gold producing countries in the world.
2022 was a spectacular year for gold mainly aided by huge purchases by central banks as inflation and rising interest rates gripped the world. Overall, global annual demand for gold increased by 18% in 2022 to 4,741lt, demand not seen since more than a decade ago in 2011, which itself saw exceptional demand. Q4 demand of 1,337lt ensured that 2022 was the strongest year for gold in a long time even as jewellery consumption fell slightly by 3% in the same period. The main reason behind this fall was the surge of gold prices in the last quarter of 2022.
In 2022, the annual average LMBA gold price PM reached record highs of $1,800/oz even as the dollar reached its highest level in decades and interest rates continued to increase. In addition to record central bank purchases, retail investment in gold continued to mount even as stocks recorded their worst first half in 2022 in more than half a century. This result in gold coins and bars reaching a nine-year high with strong growth recorded in Turkey, the Middle-East and Europe which was more than enough to offset a major slowdown in China, thanks to Covid-19 factors that impacted the country long after subsiding across most of the world, and considering that its one of the top gold producing countries in the world, the impact was outsized on the gold industry. Meanwhile, another major gold market in India saw demand improve even after a slow start to the year as the country continued to recover from the impact of Covid-19 though a major increase in price in the last quarter saw demand fall. While this would be great news for any year, the overall gold market's recovery and improvement after two years of successive decline following impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted makes this even more impressive, and great news for some of the top gold producing countries in the world.
Gold mining forms the backbone of the gold industry, which is why many gold mining companies enjoyed a stellar year in 2022, even as inflation and supply chain issues resulted in higher costs. For example, Sandstorm Gold Ltd. (NYSE:SAND) reported record annual revenue in 2022 in $148.7 million because of higher average selling prices. Some of the other gold companies including Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD) and Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) have however seen their revenue fall in the past year as compared to 2021, while costs have increased. In the Q4 2022 earnings transcript of Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD), the company's CEO said " Again, there's a little bit of swings and roundabouts. So, you would have seen that there was slightly higher cash costs, slightly lower all-in sustaining costs. So, there's a little bit of swings and roundabouts moving between sustaining capital and operating costs as we optimize some of the mine plans. So, that's really all it is. It's mostly driven by that. Some areas, we still had some inflationary pressure where we were adjusting for the latest input prices in areas, for example, in A&B. We've got some slightly higher fuel and explosive costs that are sort of lingering in those areas that we've adjusted in the model, but it's more about just the sequencing and the optimization."
According to the World Gold Council, gold fell by 5.2% in February as data showed that economic activity in the U.S. was strong which in turn led to a stronger dollar. Remember, gold gains in value mostly in uncertain conditions when people want to invest their money in a safe place, and has shown its reliability as a store of value over hundreds of years. Global gold ETFs saw losses mostly in Europe while there were also some small outflows in funds in North America. The strong economic performance of the U.S. in February saw the reversal of a four-month trend of assets increasing in value. However, at the same time, there are strong arguments that February was an exception rather than the norm, and a material slowdown is likely to come, which could boost the value of gold for the rest of 2023 and indicate it as a safe investment even as the stock market looks quite uncertain in the immediate future, driven by uncertain geopolitics and elevated risk, economic slowdown in developed economies, increase in interest rates and central banks continuing to buy gold.
To determine the list of the top gold producing countries in the world, we consulted statistics compiled by the World Gold Council, ranking the countries based on highest to lowest gold production. These 15 countries alone produce a majority of the world's gold, producing around 2,400 tonnes of gold annually. Surprisingly, a lot of these countries are not well off despite being integral to the production of one of the most valuable metals in the world. So, let's now take a look at the countries integral to the gold industry, starting with:
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 85.1
In the last 10 years, Sudan has become the third-largest African gold producing country, and even though the country is going through an economic crisis, it is also seeing a new gold rush.
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 90.1
The second-largest gold producer in Latin America and among the top gold producing countries in the world, Brazil has started to clamp down on illegal gold mining in the Amazon rainforest.
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 98.7
Mali's natural resources sector is dominated by gold, with Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD) holding a major stake in the country. In the company's Q4 2022 earnings transcript, its CEO stated "You know, I've always said, people ask me, what's your riskiest jurisdiction in your portfolio? For my whole 30 years, I've said Mali. But Mali has delivered more value than any other asset in any other country because we had Morila before. So, this audit has been run by people who we know really well. These are professional people. This is not a gauge attempt. People out of Senegal, who we know from our Senegal investments. And, again, I gave a talk because the question has been asked by the current regime is, does gold glitter for all Malians."
12. Burkina Faso
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 102.8
Burkina Faso recently purchased over 200 kgs of gold from a local mine operated by Canadian miner Endeavor. The government stated that the purchase was made in public interest, and that it would compensate the mining company.
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 104.9
Uzbekistan is home to the second-largest mine in the world, which is owned and operated by the largest mining company in the country, the state-owned Navoi Mining and Metallurgy Combinat.
10. South Africa
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 113.6
A lot of mining companies operate in South Africa with one of the biggest being AngloGold Ashanti Limited (NYSE:AU), even though the industry has a dark underbelly in the country, with gold smugglers using banks in the country for laundering money.
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 117.5
The largest mine in Indonesia is also the third-biggest in the world, with Grasberg gold mine located in the Central Papua region.
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 124.5
One of the top gold producers in the world, Mexico may not be home to some of the biggest gold mines in the world, but its output comes through a larger number of relatively smaller mines, with the biggest among them being Pensaquito Mine. According to the World Bank, Mexico's has almost $200 billion worth of gold reserves.
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 127.3
The largest gold producer in Latin America, Peru has seen a lot of illegal mining in its Amazonian region. In fact, the country signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. in a bid to combat illegal gold mining. Like several other countries invested in gold mining, Peru has seen the loss of more than 100,000 hectares of forest.
Gold production in 2021 (in tonnes): 129.2
Even though Ghana is among the top gold producers in the world, most communities in the country still live in poverty and do not benefit from earnings through gold production. Even though Ghana is the top gold producer in Africa, overtaking South Africa, the mining towns in the country are still extremely poor even as illegal gold mining threatens the country's forests as well. Ghana's mining industry account for nearly 5% of the country's total GDP.
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Disclosure: None. Top 15 gold producing countries in the world is originally published at Insider Monkey.