Gold mining is a global business with operations on every continent, except Antarctica. But how much gold is the world digging up each year and what countries produce the most?
In 2010, some 2,560 metric tons of gold were produced worldwide. Over the decade, gold production increased to a peak of 3,300 metric tons in 2018 and 2019. In 2021, worldwide gold production amounted to 3,000 metric tons, slightly less than that in 2020.
Here are the 2021 world’s top gold-producing countries.
Production: 370 metric tons (MT)
Once again, China was the largest producer of gold in the world, mining 370 MT in 2021, up slightly from 2020s 365 MT. The country has held its top position for more than a decade.
Production: 330 MT
Gold production in Australia reached 330 MT in 2021, up marginally by 2 MT from the previous year. The recent exploration activity in the Pilbara region of Western Australia has helped increase the country’s consistent gold output.
Production: 300 MT
Russia was once again the third-largest producer of gold. The country’s output has been rising over the past few years, increasing from 255 MT in 2017 to 300 MT in 2021. According to the US Geological Survey, Russia’s gold reserves stand at 6,800 MT, the second largest gold reserves country after Australia at 11,000 MT.
- United States of America
Production: 180 MT
USA gold production has been dropping over the past few years. In 2021, the US produced 180 MT, down by 20 MT from the previous year. Most of (98 per cent) American gold output was produced by the top 26 operations in the country. Gold reserves in the USA are estimated at 3,000 MT.
Production: 170 MT
For 2021, gold production in Canada was on par with 2020, allowing the nation to maintain its status as the fifth largest producer of gold. However, that figure is down from 175 MT in 2019 and 183 MT in 2018. Ontario and Quebec are the largest gold-producing provinces in the country. Together, they represent more than 70 per cent of Canada’s gold output.
Production: 130 MT
In 2021, Ghana took the position of the sixth-largest gold-producing country. Ghana’s gold production rose slightly by 5 MT from the previous year. It is also worth noting that Ghana is Africa’s largest gold producer.
- Mexico, South Africa and Uzbekistan
Production: 100 MT each
Mexico is a notable gold producer, tied with South Africa and Uzbekistan. In 2021, Mexico’s gold output fell slightly to 100 MT. Gold and silver account for over 50 per cent of the country’s total metals output.
South Africa has been one of the world’s top gold producers for decades, but between 1980 and 2018 the nation’s gold output fell by 85 percent.
Uzbekistan’s Muruntau gold mine is one of the largest open-pit mines in the world. Uzbekistan has been producing from old mines for quite some time, and has not seen much exploration investment.
- Indonesia, Peru and Sudan
Production: 90 MT each
Indonesia, Peru and Sudan are tied for eighth place on the list of largest producers of gold. Half of Indonesia’s gold production originates from Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg mine, the world’s largest gold mine, which is believed to contain the largest gold reserves globally.
Peru saw a slight uptick in gold production from last year, with output nudging up 3 MT from the previous year to 90 MT in 2021.
Sudan is new to the list of top gold countries. Sudan’s gold-mining industry is also affected by protests against environmental degradation and gold smuggling.