Where Is Gold Found on Earth?
Gold Producing Countries
For many decades, South Africa was the top gold-producing country in the world, peaking in the 1960s with its exploitation of the Witwatersrand deposits. But the 21st century has not been as kind to South Africa in this regard; the country's gold production has fallen off by half since 2001, allowing other nations to lead the way in annual gold production output.
For three consecutive years - 2007, 2008 and 2009 - China has ranked as the new leader in worldwide gold production, extracting most recently 300 tons of the precious metal. For the year 2009, Australia came in second with a total of 215 tons while the United States tied at 210 tons with aforementioned erstwhile champ South Africa.
Large Amounts of the Precious Metal
Intriguingly, the geographical areas where gold is mined do not overlap with the largest companies that own and profit from these assets. Three of the top five New York Stock Exchange gold mining companies operating in 2009 were based in Canada: Barrick Gold (first), Gold Corp Inc. (second) and Kinross Gold Corp. (fourth) Half of the world's gold mines are in fact listed through Canada.
Russia and Peru round out the top six gold producing countries for 2009, with the South American country being represented on the NYSE top ten front by Compania de Minas Buenaventura, which owns seven domestic gold mines and with a market capitalization of $9.8 billion ranks eighth on the publicly traded gold holdings companies.
Largest Gold Mine
The largest gold mine in the world presently operating is the Grasberg Mine, on the western half o f the island of New Guinea in Indonesia. More than 18,000 people are employed at the locale, which is expected to begin shifting to a fully underground excavation mode in 2015 when the open pit gold and copper ore resources are expected to be exhausted.