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LAWRIE WILLIAMS: World’s Top 20 gold mining nations 2015

The UK’s two premier gold mining consultancies, Metals Focus and GFMS both came out last week with their latest analyses of what has been happening in gold supply and demand in 2015.  Both reports, which run to close to 100 pages of data and analysis, are available for download for free – See: https://info.sharpspixley.com/uploads/GoldFocus2016.pdf  for the Metals Focus download directly from the Sharps Pixley site and https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/gfms/  for the GFMS report from the Thomson Reuters Eikon site, for which you’ll need to enter your details and a corporate email address – webmail addresses are not sufficient.

While the two reports differ a little in their findings and conclusions, they broadly paint a similar picture on global gold supply (up slightly in 2015 and plateauing or turning down slightly this year as major new mining projects initiated when gold prices were higher, have moved into full production and are thus no longer in the new production pipeline. 

Always their collected data on which are the world’s major gold mining nations seems to be particularly in demand – and here again there are some differences in the two consultancies production estimates for individual countries – at this time of year some of these figures still have to be seen as preliminary as many countries are still to produce definitive statistics for 2015 gold production – if indeed they release them at all.  But while there may be some minor differences in totals both consultancies listings are still broadly in line as to content.  Here we’ll set out the figures from one of them – Metals Focus (which also provides the World Gold Council with its gold supply and demand data these days).  The Metals Focus Top 20 listing is thus set out below.

Top 20 Gold Producing Nations (tonnes) – 2015

Rank

Country

2014

2015

Change yoy

1.

China

462.0

460.3

-0.4%

2.

Australia

274.0

273.8

-0.1%

3.

Russia

264.7

268.5

+1.4%

4.

USA

210.8

214.0

+1.5%

5.

Peru

171.1

170.5

-0.4%

6.

South Africa

168.6

167.5

-0.7%

7.

Canada

151.2

157.2

+3.9%

8.

Mexico

112.7

133.2

+18.2%

9.

Indonesia

93.8

113.0

20.5%

10.

Brazil

91.6

95.0

+3.7%

11.

Ghana

106.3

94.7

-10.9%

12.

Uzbekistan

83.5

85.5

+2.4%

13.

Kazakhstan

49.2

63.7

+29.5%

14.

Argentina

60.0

63.5

+5.8%

15.

Papua New Guinea

60.7

58.4

-3.8%

16.

Tanzania

50.8

51.7

+1.8%

17.

Mali

52.8

50.1

-5.1%

18.

Colombia

47.0

44.0

-6.4%

19.

Philippines

40.4

41.1

+1.7%

20.

Chile

44.5

41.1

-7.6%

 

Rest Of World

558.1

564.4

+1.1%

 

Global Total

3,153

3,211

+1.8%

Source:  Metals Focus, LawrieOnGold

 

As can be seen from the table, the production order of the world’s top eight gold producing nations, which accounted between them for around 57% of global new mined gold output in 2015, remains the same as in 2014 – at least according to Metals Focus figures.  GFMS differs slightly in its similar listing in that it moves South Africa – for many years by far the world’s largest gold miner, but whose industry has been in decline for the past few decades, down another notch below Canada – but the overall figures and nations are broadly similar.  They will, of course, be subject to adjustment, as more definitive data is released.

China remains comfortably the world’s largest producer although interestingly its 2015 output showed a small fall after a decade or more of continuous production growth.  Its No.1 position is not threatened with a big output gap to the No.2 and No.3 miners – Australia and Russia – which are battling for second place in the gold production hierarchy.  Interestingly if Russia does succeed in overtaking Australia as the world’s No. 2 then the top two global central bank buyers of gold would also be the top two gold producers.  Make of that what you will.

What was apparent though in terms of 2015 gold production was that a number of countries - including most of the biggest gainers - benefited hugely  from high domestic gold prices as their currencies fell sharply against the U.S. dollar.  This will have meant that many marginal mine closures will have been avoided, although on the other side of the equation it will also have meant that other more flexible operators will have been able to mine to lower grades a to boost mine lives which in turn will have meant mine output would have been a little lower.  Swings and roundabouts.  Nevertheless there were some spectacular percentage increases recorded, notably in Kazakhstan, Indonesia and Mexico.

06 Apr 2016 | Categories: Gold, Mining

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