Gold reserves & production stats

By   |   Published 19th November 2020

In times past gold diggers craved the elusive discovery of gold nuggets. Today, just about everyone wears it and it's a wise stock for any investor seeking to preserve purchasing power.

But have you ever thought about which countries have the biggest gold reserves and which countries are producing the gold? Jump to the infographic below and scroll on down to get to some interesting facts and factoids about the glistening substance.

World gold reserves in kilograms per country per year [2006]
World gold reserves in kilograms per country per year [2006]

Insights about gold

All the gold ever mined. The total amount of gold ever mined is estimated to be worth around US$5 trillion.

How gold is used. You might have though (like me) that most of the gold in the world stored in bank vaults and lock-boxes? Actually, 78 % of the worlds’ gold is made into jewellery. Other industries, mostly electronics, medical, and dental, require about 12%. The remaining 10% of the yearly gold supply is used in financial transactions.

Producers and owners. The starkest contrast is South Africa: number 27 on the list of nations that own the most gold list despite producing the most gold in the world per year from its mines.

Gold production in the United States. The State of Nevada has the world’s lowest cost and most profitable gold mines. The mines average output is about 7 million ounces per year.

The Fed’s vault. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has the largest accumulation of monetary gold. The vault is 25 meters (80 feet) underground and holds $147 billion worth of gold bullion.

Facts and factoids about gold

Gold discovery. The first discovery of gold in the USA was an 8 kg nugget of gold found by the son of a farmer. He and his father were using this stone as the support for a door until the local jeweller noticed it. And the owner sold this stone for $3.5. Finally the farmer understood this piece was very valuable and opened the first gold-mine in the country.

Largest gold nugget ever found. The largest gold nugget ever found was in Australia in 1869. It was named “Welcome Stranger,” It weighed 78 kilograms. After it was melted down 71 Kg of pure gold was left.

The US gold drain. When the American dollar was first pushed as the world de-facto currency it was backed by gold. One ounce of gold was worth $35. After 25 years of the American’s continual printing of money however, $35 was no longer worth an ounce of gold. In actual fact one ounce of gold was worth $105. As a result foreign countries, beginning with France in the late 1960’s, started to buy gold at $35 until the United States Government stopped selling its gold, thus removing gold backing from its dollar.

Private gold ownership banned in the USA. Private ownership of gold was banned in the United States for 41 years. It lasted from 1933 to 1974.

Gold refined and rare. If all the gold that had been refined in the world was put into a cube, its sides would be roughly 20 metres long but would only weigh 1/10 of the Washington Monument.

Gold nugget. Gold nuggets are actually quite rare. A gold nugget can sell for up to 4 times the worth of the amount of gold in it.

Gold leaf. Gold leaf is commonly 0.18 microns (seven millionths of an inch) thick. It’s so thin that a stack of 7,055 sheets would be no thicker than a dime.

Largest gold nugget still in nugget form. The ‘Hand of Faith’, is the largest gold nugget still in existence. It weighs 27 kg (60 pounds) and is currently on display at the Golden Nugget hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

Gold and medicine. Thousands of rheumatoid arthritis victims have chemically liquefied gold injected into their muscles. It is said that the treatment is successful in seven out of ten cases.

The weight of gold. Gold is so heavy that one cubic foot of it weighs half a ton.

The malleability of gold. A single ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 60 miles long.

Gold in water. The worlds’ largest stock pile of gold is actually in the oceans. For every cubic mile of sea water there is 25 tons of gold! That’s a total of about 10 billion tons of gold in the oceans; unfortunately, there’s no known way to recover it economically.

Artificial creation of gold. Gold can be transmitted from platinum by nuclear reaction. But, because of the rarity of platinum, it is far too costly.

Gold in space. The visors of astronauts’ space helmets receive a coating of gold so thin (0.00005 millimeters, or 0.000002 inches) that it is partially transparent. The astronauts can see through it, but even this thin layer reduces glare and heat from sunlight.

Gold in the Bible. You may be interested to know that gold is mentioned 417 times in the Bible. And, the last book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation states that in the New Heavens and New Earth the streets will made from pure gold!