Infographic: Unearthing The World's Gold Supply

Tyler Durden's picture

This infographic, part two in our 2014 Gold Series (part 1 here), covers the full supply picture behind the yellow metal. Within the planet’s crust, there is only 1 gram of gold for every 250 tonnes (550,000 lbs) of earth. Gold’s rarity means that finding economic deposits is extremely difficult. To understand how gold mining and supply work, we must first unearth how gold deposits form...

 

 

Full Visual Capitalist Infographic here

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Bastiat's picture

Fundamentals . . . yeah, I remember those.

kaiserhoff's picture

Nice piece.  It's hard to get macro data on gold that isn't childish or pimping some fund.

Serious question:  Geology maps consistently show small but wide spread deposits of gold in the High Sierra at nose bleed elevations.  Very little of that is volcanic.  Why is it there?

zaphod's picture

The US gov has 8100 tons of gold?!?!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA 

DaddyO's picture

Very Well Done!

Even a blockhead like me can understand these pictures.

DaddyO

schrodingers-cat's picture

Sure it does, just remember to include the gold that the Germans gave us...

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

And gold from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine...

old naughty's picture

"Fracking for gold" !?

 

Google it.

Mr. Magoo's picture

And China only has 1,054 tons

cynicalskeptic's picture

The US gov has 8100 tons of gold?!?!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA 

 

and Germany has how much? ..........  Really?


How much of the western central bank reserves are simply IOU's (with the physical metal long gone and/or owned several times over after being 'leased out')?

Or has the US been gaming everyone else?  

 Could it be that England's, Germany's and all the rest of the gold held in the US and London for others was leased out while the US was preserving its own reserves?  Would make for some very po'd Arabs (Germany seems to be taking its delayed repatriation quite well, all things considered).  Personally, I lean towards the tungsten filled Ft. Knox bars providing the ILLUSION of 8,000 tons.

You never know though... maybe the CIA didn't squander Yamashita's treasure and its all stashed somewhere for safekeeping.....  yeah... in a bunch of private Swiss accounts

 

natty light's picture

That 1000 handle on Russia and China is funny too.

cifo's picture

56,000 tonnes left to ever be recovered.

3,000 tonnes per year current production.

20 years of gold mining left.

 

daveO's picture

That's the most important part of this article. Also, grams per ton is declining at the same time.

Citxmech's picture

And the cost to dig it out of the ground is increasing too.    

Anusocracy's picture

Time to grab the trusty old mining pan and head out to the moon. Or the asteroid belt.

tonyw's picture

Exactly, more and more "dirt" has to be dug out to get each ounce. As the shallower deposits are exhausted then the mines will have to go deeper and deeper thus making it more expensive and energy intensive. So in thirty or so years the amount of gold will no longer slowly increase year on year but remain roughly constant.

On the other hand whilst the situation with silver is similar, much silver is used and not recovered so the available silver will diminish.

Now ponder on the situation with oil and and :-)

 

sixsigma cygnusatratus's picture

If I remember correctly, intense pressure from tectonic plate motion caused quartz to boil and liquefy.  As the molten quartz traveled to the surface through cracks in the rocks, it picked up deposits of gold.  I think that's correct.

Latitude25's picture

Orogenic deposits.  It helps if you read the article.

Axenolith's picture

When you get thrust belts, hot fluid intrusions and interfingering dikes, you know that subduction is going to lead to orogeny...

hairball48's picture

Could be "placer deposits" from ancient rivers. Keep in mind that the mountain tops of today weren't always "tops" millions of years ago. See of lot of deposits like that here in Montana

Axenolith's picture

When the batholith was emplaced, it's constituent plutons rose up through prior igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary deposits and solidified subsurface with simultaneous volcanic activity around the region.  All of the hydrothermal activity associated with that, associated volcanics and subsequent volcanics generated by the eastern basin and range formation emplaced gold, and this subsequently was eroded (along with a shitload of other cool stuff).

A lot of the non granitic stuff you see at the tops of the Sierra are "roof pendants" of metamorphic rocks, a lot of the tungsten mines are in these, the Pine Creek, south of Morgan pass, is one of the biggest.  Adits enter the mountain there at around 6000 feet IIRC, and go UP to the 13,000 foot level.   There are also PM deposits scattered about these, and I have found a small aquamarine (indicating possibly some emeralds too) in float rock derived from aplite dikes north of the mine.

Additional to the activity emplacing the gold, a large river complex, that I'm not well versed in the geology thereof, is "fossilized" (for want of a better term) mostly on the western side of the crest at varous elevations.  The remnants of this river system was what contained the ungodly quantity of placer gold derived from the earlier mountain building episodes[s].

http://www.roaringcampgold.com/ is a family oriented place on the Mokelumne canyon that sits on a chunk of this deposit, and if you can afford $40 for the day tour or better yet shell for the week cabin and buy a pile of gravel, it is WELL worth your effort, they have a pristine section of the deposit and it has gobs of gold in it.  When I did the day trip, in the sandwitch shop/general store they probably had 100K+ in recovered gold on display.  I found enough to cover the entry fee.  I tipped a woman and her young stepson on how to find a good spot under a deposit boulder to extract material for pannning and she promtly returned a short time later with a nice better than 1/3 ounce nugget.

At best maybe 15% of California gold was ever extracted to date.  I know of several places where you can go that, with a days work, you can find enough to pay for your gas up, and have some beer and lunch money afterwards (.1-.3 oz, more if your lucky/persistant, and I know people who've found 1+ pounds in an outing) :-)

dogismycopilot's picture

gold comes from outer space. it is part of the stars. impacted millions of years ago. rose up with the mountains.

WHEN THE MOTHER FUCKING ALIENS COME AS PART OF THE RAPTURE THEY WILL ONLY TAKE THOSE WHO HAVE GOLD INTO THEIR SPACE SHIPS WHICH IS WHY THE MAYANS, AZTECS, AND EGYPTIANS HOARDED THE YELLOW STUFF!

(am i ranting, crazy or pulling your leg...you tell me).

dogismycopilot's picture

GOLD BE THE SAP THAT RUNNETH THROUGH THE UNIVERSE. THE EVERLASTING HONEY THAT COURSES THROUGH THE VEINS OF ALL THAT IS ONE AND CONNECTED AND CONNECTS US ALL TO ONE ANOTHER. IT IS THE BLESSED SAP THAT WILL SAVE YOUR SORRY ASS WHEN THE ALIENS COME AND THE VATICAN PRESENTS THEM AS ANGELS. THESE DOPPLEGANGERS WILL THEN PRY IT FROM GRANNY'S SKULL.

(course they will want their gold.  it was their central bank that was hijacked by the Klingons and then the Klingons blew that shit up when thye didn't get bailed out by the USS Enterprise.)

SHIT, I JUST REALIZED THE IMF ARE THE FUCKING ALIENS

AHHHHHHHHHHH

Mad Muppet's picture

Serious question:  Geology maps consistently show small but wide spread deposits of gold in the High Sierra at nose bleed elevations.  Very little of that is volcanic.  Why is it there?

 

 

Google  the "Jura River" and the "Blue Lead" to further confuse yourself. As a longtime prospector, miner, and proud owner of ten gold mines I've pondered the same thing with great earnestness. Most of the gold found in th Sierra rivers came from weather erosion and river transport. The Sierras used to be some three thousand feet higher than now, and the gold is said to be from the displaced material. Oddly, most of the big deposits were found at lower elevations, 2000-4000 feet.

  Northern sections of the Blue Lead contained massive gold (amounts and size), and huge boulders of a size indicating they were from a river about the size of the Columbia River, but falling at a much faster rate. Did the Cascade range or perhaps a glacier block the prehistoric Columbia River, driving it south at some time? Look at the lakes in NE California, they link up to point to that direction.

  There is a tremendous amount of bluish quartz in this material, thus blue lead. Find blue quartz in the Sierras and gold is nearby, watching and waiting.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Another fundamental that is omitted in the infographic is the role of subsea "black smokers" in creating gold deposits.  Black smokers occur all over the oceans and deposit silver, gold, cobalt, nickel, arsenic, and other rare metals.  At least one subsea mining company is attempting to exploit a shallow black smoker off the coast of New Guinea. There could be millions of tons of gold beneath the Red Sea alone. The question is if and when technology will enable these deposits to be tapped.

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/issues/2007/january/treasuresdeep.asp



SilverSavant's picture

Can you not read   What is VMS per the article?

Spumoni's picture

I think I'm gonna faint...an article about gold on ZH! How roots-ish!

xavi1951's picture

Crap!  Only $44,900USD here.  Time to buy more.

inky's picture

Bigger shovel/spade...check

Scooper diving gear...check

Obtain a licence to open a cash for gold shop...check

Time machine so i can go back into the past to buy gold at incredibly low prices...check

Right il see you guys later.

FieldingMellish's picture

8133.5 tonnes? Decimal place fault.

NOTaREALmerican's picture

I'm gittin' me a shovel and goin' prospectin' in them thar foothills.  

sixsigma cygnusatratus's picture

.gov has an easier way of mining gold.  They simply take it from you and give you worthless paper in exchange.  My coins are somewhere in the Pacific.

FieldingMellish's picture

I'm sorry to hear that. I feel for your loss and share your pain.

Dickweed Wang's picture

Yeah right, the US has 8,133 tonnes of gold reserves while China and Russia have only 1,054 and 1,035 tonnes respectively.  Give me a fucking break!  Promulgating that BS puts the rest of the information in this piece totally at question . . .

icanhasbailout's picture

The US government has ZERO ounces of gold until it provides hard proof otherwise.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Not quite zero, given the safe holdings on behalf of Afghanistan, Iraq, Greece, Libya, Ukraine..

unplugged's picture

..which has already made it across the Pacific to China

STG5IVE's picture

It'l  probably rain gold when the Yellowstone Caldera pops

xavi1951's picture

We won't survive to enjoy it.

Incubus's picture

Yes we can!  (say it with me!) YES WE CAN!

TheObsoleteMan's picture

Who says the US is the world's largest depositor of gold? Without an audit, how can that be said? You would have to trust the same people who have proven themselves time and time again to be sociopathic liars. If they do in fact have that much gold, why then would it take over seven years to satisfy Germany's demand that their gold be returned? It would be a trivial amount, just do it, unless of course, YOU REALLY DON'T EVEN HAVE THAT MUCH. Why are attempts to audit US gold reserves fought against with such vigor by both the US gubmint and the central bank?

Ocean22's picture

8,000 tones for the USA ? Bullshit.

cynicalskeptic's picture

Didn't say how pure.......those 8000 tonnes may have a large amount of tungsten 'impurities'......

813kml's picture

Or chocolate centers, like some coins I just bought.  Delicious but not much numismatic value.