One of the most expensive and precious metals in the world, Gold is fast becoming a scarce resource. With huge amounts of gold being extracted from the gold mines across the world due to its high demand in the market, the cost of this beautiful natural resource is increasing day-by-day. The US and South Africa hold the two biggest gold mines in the world, while countries like Russia, Indonesia, Australia, Chile, Dominican Republic and Papua New Guinea are home to the remaining smaller mines. The South Deep Gold Mine in South Africa has the largest gold deposit in the world. Here are fascinating facts about the world’s 5 largest gold mines that will spike your interest.
#1 – SOUTH DEEP GOLD MINE – SOUTH AFRICA (32.8 MOZ)
Located just 45 kms away in the South-West direction of Johannesburg in South Africa, the South Deep Gold Mine is the 7th deepest mine in the world that has a depth of 2,998 m below the surface of the earth. As of December 2018, the reserve had a gold reserve of 32.8 Moz. Until 2000, the mine was earlier known by the name of Western Areas Gold Mine. The mining operations in the Western Areas Gold Mine began in 1961. In 2006, the mine was owned and operated by the GoldFields Company. The mining was operated in two shaft systems namely the Twin Shaft Complex and the South shaft complex.
In 2018, the company extracted 157,100 oz of gold as compared to its 281,300 oz of extraction in 2017. According to researchers, its believed that the mine’s life is expected to last till 2092.
#2 – GRASBERG GOLD MINE – PAPUA INDONESIA (30.2 MOZ)
Located in the Papua province of Indonesia, the Grasberg gold mine was first discovered in 1988. There are 4 different underground mining locations in the Grasberg Gold Mine, namely DMLZ, DOZ, Grasberg Block Cave and Big Gossan mines. The gold mine also includes another undeveloped mine named Kucing Liar.
The open-pit mining operation at the Grasberg Mines began in 1990 and was expected to end till 2019. The ore production in the Grasberg Block Cave was started in the later months of 2019. The current expansions at the Grasberg mine will boost the production to 240,000 t per day until 2022. In 2018, the Grasberg produced a total of 2.69 Moz of gold and milling as much as 178,100 t of gold ore per day.
#3 – OLIMPIADA GOLD MINE – SIBERIA, RUSSIA (26 MOZ)
Located in Eastern Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region in Russia, the Olimpiada gold mine is owned by Polyus Gold. The gold mine has an estimated gold reserve of 26 Moz as per the records in December 2018.
The mine follows the simple open-pit method and uses shovel and trucks to extract the gold ore which is further processed in two processing plants that has a total capacity of 13 million tonnes. The Olimpiada Gold Mine first produced gold in 1996 and it produced a total of 1.3 Moz in 2018. In 2019, the entire mine was transitioned into an autonomous machine based mining center.
#4 – LIHIR GOLD MINE – PAPUA NEW GUINEA (24 MOZ)
Located in Papua New Guinea’s New Ireland province, the Lihir Gold Mine has been producing gold since 1997. The mine is owned and operated by Lihir Gold Limited in association with Newcrest Mining since 2010.
The Lihir mine has a total gold reserve of 24 Moz as per the records of December 2018. The extracted gold ore form the Lihir mine is treated using the pressure oxidation method and the conventional leaching technique. By June 2019, the mine had produced a total of 933,000 oz of gold. Based on the estimations, the mine is expected to extract and produce as much as 1Moz of gold by the end of 2020.
#5 – NORTE ABIERTO GOLD MINE – CHILE (23.2 MOZ)
Located in the Atacama region of Chile, the Norte Abierto gold mine is owned by both Barrick Gold and the Newmont Goldcorp in a 50:50 joint venture. Based on the estimations made by December 2018, the gold mine contains as much as 23.2 Moz. Two more deposits namely Caspiche and Cerro Casale will b e mined as a part of the mining project. These deposits are located just 12 km apart from each other.
The Carline Trend Gold Mine (12.46 Moz) and the Cortez Gold Mine (8.7 Moz) are the two gold mines located in USA that makes USA the second highest gold producing country.