Map of Gold Deposits Worldwide
This map depicts World Gold Deposits in yellow. For more detail, hover over the map. To take a closer look, zoom in. For more information, scroll down.
|Gold (AU)||Gold and other metals AG (silver), CU (copper), PB (lead), ZN (zinc)|
Gold has been a coveted precious metal for thousands of years. It was used as the basis for money until the 20th century.
Today, however, investors purchase precious metals mainly as financial assets.
Gold is valuable because it is scarce, durable, malleable, and beautiful.
It is estimated that all the gold mined is equivalent to 201,296 tonnes. Of this gold, 93,253 tonnes are used in jewelry. This is about 46% of the total mined.
Private investment is about 44,000 tonnes or 22% of all mined gold. 92% of these investments are held as bars and coins.
Official Holdings have 34,211 tonnes. Of these holdings, the U.S. Federal Reserve has 8,133 tonnes of gold reserves. More than any other country.
The rest, 29,448 tonnes, are held for other uses. Source: VC.
Interested in investments? Amazon has The Essential Guide to Investing in Precious Metals: How to begin, build and maintain a properly diversified portfolio. This book teaches you about all the ways you can add precious metals to your portfolio.
Depending on the source, there are between 57,000 (USGS) to 53,000 tonnes (World Gold Council) of underground reserves of gold.
There is a lot of uncertainty in this number. It depends on the methods used and the latest data acquired.
For more information about the gold origin and geology, go to gold deposits in the U.S.A.
Most of the gold reserves we have access to, are in the Earth's crust. But where is the rest of it?
Gold in the Ocean
It is estimated that the oceans are the most significant single reservoir of gold on Earth's surface.
Seawater contains about 4 grams of gold in 1,000,000 tonnes of water. This is a tremendous amount of gold stored in the oceans.
Scientists believe there is still eight times more gold in and under the oceans than has ever been mined close to the planet’s surface.
Nevertheless, the concentration is so low, attempts to reclaim this gold have failed. The current cost of extracting it is more than the gold is worth. Source: ThoughtCo.
The gold in the Earth’s molten core is inaccessible or too expensive to mine.
Meanwhile, gold has been discovered on all of Earth’s continents except Antarctica. But, even that continent may hold some gold under all the ice. Source: Stevenstone.
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Largest World Mine Reserves of Gold
The countries with the largest mine reserves are:
- Australia: 8,400 tonnes
- Russia: 6,800 tonnes
- South Africa: 5,000 tonnes
- United States: 3,000 tonnes
- Peru: 2,900 tonnes
- Indonesia: 2,600 tonnes
- Brazil: 2,400 tonnes
- Canada: 2,300 tonnes
- China: 2,300 tonnes
- Uzbekistan: 1,800 tonnes
Having the largest reserves does not mean having the most production. Currently, the largest producers of gold are China, Russia, and Australia; Gold.org.
The Largest Gold Deposits
Depending on the year or the source, different mines claim to have the most extensive gold deposits in the world.
Muruntau is considered one of Earth's most extensive gold deposits.. It has produced about 85 tonnes of gold since 1967.
This pit is 1.8 miles (3.5 Km) wide and 2,000 feet (60 0m) deep.
Muruntau gold deposit is near the surface due to the closure of an ancient ocean and a period of mountain building due to the movement of nearby faults. Source: Nasa.
Carlin Trend, Nevada, USA
Since 1983, Nevada has produced over 6,250 tonnes of gold. To put it into perspective the California gold rush produced a 10th of that in its peak year.
Nevada produces 80% of the gold output in the U.S.A. Most of its gold comes from the Carlin Trend, one of the richest gold deposits in the world.
The gold was found by geologists trying to find microscopic gold in sedimentary formations, and they did; Carlin.
This area went through a tectonic plate collision that brought higher temperatures and produced numerous hot springs.
The springs brought to the surface dissolved gold and silver.
For more information on Nevada's gold, Amazon has Placer Gold Deposits of Nevada. This publication is a catalog of locations, geology, and production from the placer districts of Nevada. Over 100 Nevada Placer locations are covered in this book.
Olimpiada Mine, Severo-Yeniseysky District, Russia
Olimpiada is located in Western Siberia.
Olimpiada mine is an open-pit mine with the ore stock-piled at the surface.
This comprises drilling and blasting, followed by excavation for rock removal and hauling.
The mine's production in 2021 was 31 tonnes (1,112.7 koz). Source: Polyus.
The mine lies within the Late Proterozoic trough of the Yenisey Range, containing orogenic and placer gold deposits.
Grasberg Open Pit Mine, Tembagapura, Indonesia
Grasberg is one of the largest gold reserves in the world and the second-largest copper reserve.
The Grasberg minerals district has open-pit and underground mines. It has produced 1,502 tonnes (53 million ounces) of gold.
The mine is on the collision of the Indo- Australian and Pacific tectonic plates. Source: Mining Technology.
Cadia Mine, New South Wales, Australia
This is one of Australia's largest mining operations. It is also one of the largest gold and copper mines in the world.
Cadia Valley Operations currently comprises two underground mines, and it is mined using caving mining methods.
The mine is one of the major employers in the region; Cadia.
Witwatersrand Mines, South Africa
The vast deposits of the Witwatersrand mines in South Africa have produced more than 40 percent of the world's total production of gold.
This mine has been mined for over a century. It has produced about 2 billion ounces of gold, with more gold to be mined.
Nevertheless, the gold has come with a cost as the shafts are about 12,795ft (3,900m) below the surface.
These ores are several billion years old. Some geologists believe these deposits were formed when streams deposited the gold into an ancient lake. Eventually, the gold-bearing sediments solidified into rock.
Others point to evidence that after forming an initial placer deposit, the gold was redeposited by hydrothermal fluids, like those in hot springs. Source: AMNH.
Another theory claims this 300km radius crater in southern Africa is thought to have been caused by a meteor strike over 2 billion years ago. Source: Stevenstone.
Minerals Associated with Gold
Gold is associated with different minerals depending on the location and type of rock.
Placer deposits are associated with platinum, iridosmine, magnetite, iron pyrites, ilmenite, zircon, garnets, rutile, and barytes.
In Brazil, gold is associated with diamonds. This also occurs in the Urals and the USA.
In Quartz, gold is usually associated with iron and copper pyrites, zinc blende, galena, and tetradymite; 911 metallurgist.
Other metals commonly found with gold are silver, lead, Tellurium, zinc, or copper. These metals are recovered as a by-product.
Resources for World Gold Deposits Map
The shapefiles with gold deposits are from U.S. Geological Survey mineral databases; MRDS and MAS/MILS Data Series 52 By: E.J. McFaul, G.T. Mason, W.B. Ferguson, and B. R. Lipin. It can be downloaded from MRDATA.
The Shapefiles with countries were downloaded from Natural Earth.
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