The world’s largest gold mines have shaped nations’ economies, fueled exploration and colonization, and led to social changes in local communities. Gold mining is a thriving global enterprise spanning the globe.
According to a World Gold Council survey, after a significant increase in central banks buying gold, they still see gold as a favorable asset and showed that 24% of central banks plan to increase their gold reserves in the next year.
Are you interested in buying gold? Gold offers investors a kind of insurance of security in the event of economic crisis and potential black swan events. When you become a Nomad Capitalist client, we will create your holistic strategy that includes buying and storing gold in the best jurisdictions.
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History of Gold Mining
Gold mining dates back thousands of years, being traced back to ancient civilizations like Egypt from around 3000 BCE.
The Egyptians were famous for their extensive use of gold for ornamental purposes, jewelry, and artifacts, mining gold along the banks of the Nile River and in the deserts of Egypt.
The Romans then came up with more advanced techniques, such as hydraulic mining and tunneling, to extract gold from rivers and underground mines.
Gold mining then slowed down during the Middle Ages in Europe thanks to political instability and the decline of the Roman Empire. However, gold mining continued in Africa and Asia, where it held immense cultural and monetary value that stands to this day.
A renewed interest in gold mining was then sparked in the 15th century with explorers traveling to the Americas and exploiting its vast gold supply, particularly in regions like Mexico and Peru. This led to the notorious expeditions in search of the legendary city of El Dorado.
Numerous other gold mines and rushes shaped the history of the gold industry, with the most renowned gold rush being the California Gold Rush in 1848, attracting people from across the globe.
Modern Gold Mining
With technological advancements and mining practices, gold mining became more efficient and productive in the 20th century. Large-scale mining operations using heavy machinery and chemical extraction techniques became prevalent.
Today, gold mining remains a powerful global industry, with the United States, Australia, and Russia all among the major players.
Cadia-Ridgeway Mine, Australia
One of the largest open-pit copper and gold mine in New South Wales, Australia, is Cadia-Ridgeway Mine, owned and operated by Newcrest Mining. The Australian mine produced 561,000 ounces of gold in 2022.
The mine is 250 kilometers west of Sydney and within the Macquarie Arc, a mineral-rich geological area known for its copper and gold deposits.
Mining in Cadia-Ridegeway began in 1998; since then, it has become one of Australia’s largest gold producers.
As with many other mines today, Cadia has implemented sustainable practices to minimize its environmental impact. This includes using renewable energy sources, efficient water management systems, and progressive mine site rehabilitation.
Kibali Gold Mine, DRC
One of Africa’s most technologically advanced and environmentally sound mines is the Kibali Gold Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which produced around 337,000 ounces of gold in 2022.
The Kibali Gold Mine is a joint venture between Barrick Gold Corporation, AngloGold Ashanti, and Société Minière de Kilo-Moto, and since 2013, it has been producing significant amounts of gold.
The African mine is situated in the Kilo-Moto greenstone belt, a geological formation known for its gold deposits, and is expected to have a mine life of around ten years.
Kibali employs a large workforce, including both local and expat workers, and has been a critical driver of economic development in the region.
Pueblo Viejo Mine, Dominican Republic
The Pueblo Viejo mine, located in the province of Sánchez Ramírez in the Dominican Republic, was established in the 15th century during the Spanish colonization. The Carribean gold mine produced 428,000 ounces of gold in 2022.
The mine has become a source of environmental controversy, in recent years, with the contamination of rivers and the spread of pollutants which had a detrimental effect on the local ecosystem.
Pueblo Viejo’s own gold production accounted for approximately 31% of the Dominican Republic’s export value between 2013 and 2020. During this time, the company contributed over $2.6 billion in tax payments and provided substantial employment opportunities to thousands.
The Grasberg Gold Mine, Indonesia
One of the world’s most extensive gold and copper mines is the Grasberg mining company located in the mountains of Papua province in Indonesia and has been in operation since the 1970s.
The Grasberg copper and gold deposits were discovered in 1936 by a Dutch geologist known as Ertsberg.
The mine production sites near the towering Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in Papua, this mine has a rich history and produced an estimated 927.21 thousand ounces of gold in 2022.
The mining complex includes both open-pit and underground mining operations, producing precious metals in large quantities, with gold accounting for a smaller percentage of the overall production.
One of the unique challenges of the Grasberg mine is its natural environment and remote location. It is estimated that the Grasberg mine will remain in operation until 2041.
Olimpiada Gold Mine, Russia
Russia’s most significant production of gold comes from the Olimpiada mine is located in the Krasnoyarsk Krai region and is operated by Polyus, the country’s largest gold producer.
The mine has been in operation since 1996 and has potential gold reserves of over 30 million ounces, and in 2022 produced an estimated 1.04 million ounces.
Olimpiada mine uses a combination of open-pit and underground mining methods to extract gold from the ore. The extracted gold is then processed on-site to produce doré bars, which are further refined into pure gold. The mine employs several thousand people and contributes significantly to Russia’s economy.
Muruntau Gold Mine, Uzbekistan
The Muruntau Mine is one of the biggest open-pit gold mines in the world and is located in the Kyzylkum Desert of Uzbekistan. It is operated by Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat, a state-owned mining company.
In operation since 1967, the mine has produced over 78 million ounces of gold to date and has an estimated annual production of around 2 million ounces of gold.
The Muruntau Mine utilizes large-scale open-pit mining methods to extract gold deposits from low-grade ore. The mined ore is processed using cyanide leaching techniques to extract the gold, and the resulting gold ore bars are further refined to obtain pure gold.
With its vast reserves and high production capacity, the Muruntau Mine plays a crucial role in Uzbekistan’s gold mining industry and contributes significantly to the country’s economy. It is estimated to have enough reserves to sustain the gold mining operation for several more decades.
Nevada Gold Mines
The closest you will get to El Dorado today is the Nevada Gold Mines, producing a whopping 3.03 million ounces yearly.
In 2022, gold was produced at more than 40 lode mines in 11 States across the US. Nevada was the leading gold-producing State, accounting for about 72% of total domestic production.
The largest mine, the Carlin Gold Mine, has operated since 1965 and is a large open-pit gold mine in northeastern Nevada owned by Newmont Mining Corporation.
The Carlin Trend is characterized by its unique geological features, including sedimentary rocks and varied mineral deposits. The gold in the Carlin Gold Mine is dispersed in microscopic particles within these sedimentary rocks, making it challenging to mine gold.
The Future of Mining Gold
Gold prices have increased more than 50% in the past ten years and are currently close to the highest-ever price, inching towards $2,000 per ounce. This is, of course, great news for gold miners.
Considering the current economic climate, including the ongoing impacts of high inflation, it is worth paying attention to the precious metal mining industry.
Recently we sat down with gold experts J. Rotbart & Co. to get insights into the gold markets, and he spoke of the environmental, political, and economic factors that impact the price of gold.
Joshua stated, “One factor, which for me is the most important but hard to measure, is the fear factor. Gold is suited for investors concerned with geopolitical and financial uncertainties. It is often preferred when things get unstable, whether it’s the war in Ukraine or the decoupling between China and the US.”
It is about the inverse correlation to the US dollar. So the demand for gold usually grows in times of inflation or in countries with inflation. Gold measures what’s happening in the financial market and geopolitics.
On the environmental side, over the last decade, the entire gold industry has been going through changes and is far more transparent about where and how the mines are mining the gold.
As with all industries, there are a lot of discussions within the gold sector around sustainability. The more concerned we are with sustainability and environmental issues, the more pressure on these miners and refiners to do a better job, which also means higher costs.
Miners are actively searching for ways to transition towards renewable energy and achieve their net-zero objectives. Twenty of the world’s largest mining companies have established ambitious targets for net-zero emissions or carbon neutrality, with the year 2050 being the aimed-for deadline.
Gold is the conductor of heat and electricity and is used in printers, circuits, transistors, computers, televisions, and basically all appliances.
The most notable example of the use of gold in advancing technology is the gold plating used on the James Webb Space Telescope launched in December 2021.
Gold was used because of its extraordinarily reflective and unreactive qualities. The gold market is also growing in alliance with technology.
Offshore Your Precious Metal
The acquisition of gold by central banks has increased worldwide, purchasing the highest amounts since the 1970s as they struggle to stabilize economies.
For those seeking wealth protection and asset preservation, we advise buying physical gold and storing it offshore.
As the future holds more economic uncertainty, gold reserves offer a form of insurance against de-dollarization and market volatility. Gold markets can be complex, and it’s crucial to seek expert advice before buying and storing gold.
If you want to protect your wealth, diversify your asset portfolio, and legally reduce your taxes, contact the Nomad Capitalist team. Along with our gold partners, we specialize in crafting holistic strategies that include your precious metals.