Gold is often portrayed as a very scarce precious metal. While that is true to a certain extent, vast amounts of ore have been mined from the earth. Finding an exact figure as to how much gold has been mined, remains very difficult.
Determining the Amount of Mined Gold
There are quite a few rough estimates as to how much gold has been extracted from the earth to date. According to the Gold Council, the average estimate sits near 200,000 tonnes of gold. This is a figure encompassing all of the ounces pulled out of the ground throughout history. Considering how a lot of gold may remain buried in the earth or on the sea bottom, that figure could be off by quite a margin.
What is remarkable is how the majority of these amounts has been mined since 1950. Several factors influence this trend, for obvious reasons. Not only is there more interest in large-scale gold mining operations, but the tools to do so have evolved significantly. Additionally, there are now dedicated efforts to mine gold under the sea, allowing miners to tap into unexplored pay streaks.
It is also worth taking into account that gold doesn’t tarnish over time. Nor can it be destroyed easily. Keeping that in mind, it isn’t necessarily scarce. Virtually all of its supply throughout history still exists in some shape or form today. It is an inflationary precious metal in this regard, although most people will never see it that way.
The Yearly Tally
Thanks to many dedicated mining efforts, as much as 3,000 tonnes of gold is added to the global supply every year. This makes one wonder if such ongoing growth can even be sustained in the long run. While numerous mines note hefty increases in production, it will begin to level off eventually.
Moreover, there is a lot of gold coming out of the earth, but that rate will also slow down. It is still a scarce precious metal compared to other metals to be found around the world. As long as the price remains higher than the cost of mining, companies will keep searching for it. If that situation changes, a lot of efforts could be abandoned in quick succession.
All good things must come to an end eventually. When gold mining dries up again, the price of the precious metal is likely to respond kindly. However, as has become apparent, the overall demand for this precious metal is slowing down globally. The coming years will prove rather interesting in this regard.