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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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Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:06 | 4623319 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Fundamentals . . . yeah, I remember those.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:21 | 4623368 kaiserhoff
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?

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:30 | 4623404 FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

Plate tectonics

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:59 | 4623503 zaphod
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 

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:12 | 4623542 DaddyO
DaddyO's picture

Very Well Done!

Even a blockhead like me can understand these pictures.

DaddyO

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:38 | 4623594 schrodingers-cat
schrodingers-cat's picture

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

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:59 | 4623995 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

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

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 22:02 | 4623650 old naughty
old naughty's picture

"Fracking for gold" !?

 

Google it.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 22:19 | 4623697 Mr. Magoo
Mr. Magoo's picture

And China only has 1,054 tons

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 22:48 | 4623748 cynicalskeptic
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

 

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 02:20 | 4624012 natty light
natty light's picture

That 1000 handle on Russia and China is funny too.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:59 | 4623508 cifo
cifo's picture

56,000 tonnes left to ever be recovered.

3,000 tonnes per year current production.

20 years of gold mining left.

 

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:52 | 4623634 daveO
daveO's picture

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

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 23:01 | 4623772 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

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

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 23:47 | 4623850 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

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

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 05:23 | 4624141 tonyw
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 :-)

 

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:34 | 4623412 sixsigma cygnus...
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.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:45 | 4623454 Latitude25
Latitude25's picture

Orogenic deposits.  It helps if you read the article.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:47 | 4623991 Axenolith
Axenolith's picture

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

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 06:25 | 4624174 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Sounds pornographic.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 08:42 | 4624378 PT
Fri, 04/04/2014 - 08:52 | 4624416 PT
PT's picture

And while we're on the subject of geology:

https://xkcd.com/1198/ 

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 00:11 | 4623891 813kml
813kml's picture

Pancho Villa

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 00:13 | 4623896 hairball48
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

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:45 | 4623987 Axenolith
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) :-)

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 06:14 | 4624167 dogismycopilot
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).

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 08:46 | 4624384 PT
PT's picture

Do they want it back?

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:33 | 4624769 dogismycopilot
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

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 19:57 | 4626849 Mad Muppet
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.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:05 | 4623522 Stuck on Zero
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



Fri, 04/04/2014 - 11:36 | 4624982 SilverSavant
SilverSavant's picture

Can you not read   What is VMS per the article?

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 23:00 | 4623770 Spumoni
Spumoni's picture

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

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:07 | 4623322 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

$50,000USD. 

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:21 | 4623365 xavi1951
xavi1951's picture

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

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:32 | 4623334 inky
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.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:13 | 4623339 FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

8133.5 tonnes? Decimal place fault.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:14 | 4623340 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

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

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:14 | 4623343 sixsigma cygnus...
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.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:15 | 4623346 FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

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

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:20 | 4623356 Dickweed Wang
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 . . .

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:54 | 4623484 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

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

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 02:04 | 4623999 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

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

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:55 | 4624646 unplugged
unplugged's picture

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

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:21 | 4623363 STG5IVE
STG5IVE's picture

It'l  probably rain gold when the Yellowstone Caldera pops

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:22 | 4623371 xavi1951
xavi1951's picture

We won't survive to enjoy it.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:41 | 4623609 Incubus
Incubus's picture

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

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:24 | 4623367 TheObsoleteMan
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?

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:36 | 4623424 Ocean22
Ocean22's picture

8,000 tones for the USA ? Bullshit.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 22:50 | 4623753 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

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

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 00:22 | 4623907 813kml
813kml's picture

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

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:02 | 4623947 bluskyes
bluskyes's picture

But does not suffer from the "you can't eat it" argument.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:03 | 4623432 remain calm
remain calm's picture

We will get an audit when a crisis comes and we need to prove we are solvent. The audit will yield the same result that the stress test tell us the banks are solvent.

So an audit will tell you nothing because it will be a lie so that dishonest people can continue to perpetuate their lies and steal from dumb honest people. So heres your fucking audit( As I grab my unit)

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 23:42 | 4623844 bigrooster
bigrooster's picture

"Why are attempts to audit US gold reserves fought against with such vigor by both the US gubmint and the central bank?"

Because the JOOOOS have none?

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:23 | 4623376 Doubleguns
Doubleguns's picture

I think the position for china is way out of wack. 

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:34 | 4623416 _SILENCER
_SILENCER's picture

It is unfortunate that my gold and firearms were stolen by the TSA.

One of these days beans, pain killers and cigarettes will be worth quite a bit as well.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:52 | 4624632 unplugged
unplugged's picture

...vodka...toilet paper...viagra...ammo...

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:39 | 4623436 Ocean22
Ocean22's picture

Horse shit garbage propaganda article. Russia, India and china are going clean our clocks.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:43 | 4623446 Conax
Conax's picture

The picture left out a lot of stuff! Ghaddaffi's tonnage, why, there was another 37 tons that came available just a couple weeks ago.  Then there's all those solid gold asteroids to lasso and sell off, sunken Spanish galleons, thar be gold everwhere!

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:37 | 4623978 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

They used that Ukrainian gold to drop the gold price a hundred bucks or so over the last three weeks.

The empire is gonna have to invade someone else soon.

Or bankrupt a couple of miners.

 

Stack On

 

 

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:55 | 4623486 Latitude25
Latitude25's picture

Of the total 170,000 tons mined in all of human history only about 30,000 tons were mined before 1900.

56,608 tons are left to enter the human economy via mining.  Our current mining rate is 3000 tons/year.  If we continued at this rate we would mine all available in 19 years.  Production MUST slow down one way or another given depletion of world energy reserves and excalating cost of production.  Either that or a crisis will stop production.

Stack it while it's cheap and then good luck with your boating skills.  It's a hands down winner.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 06:21 | 4624172 Global Observer
Global Observer's picture

I guess the Anunnaki will return to take the gold when we have mined all the gold available :-) Thank the bankers for fiat currencies or the whole world commerce would come to a screeching halt in 20 years when that happens!

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:57 | 4623494 Occams_Chainsaw
Occams_Chainsaw's picture

Can they do an info-graphic like that for bitcoin?

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:29 | 4623578 Proofreder
Proofreder's picture

Bitchcoin is passe'

Silver ... do one on Silver

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:41 | 4625267 NoTTD
NoTTD's picture

Because something has to actually exist to support an infographic.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:00 | 4623511 22winmag
22winmag's picture

They forgot about the 5oz hidden in the bowels of my vacuum cleaner.

 

Oh shit, black helicopters in 3... 2... 1.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:07 | 4623529 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

 

 

My favorite number is Germany:  3,387.1 tons.  Very precise number but they can't see it or have it.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:20 | 4623560 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

Are they fracking for gold?

http://www.zengardner.com/fracking-gold/

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:26 | 4623573 Proofreder
Proofreder's picture

How about a similar Silver infographic ?

Please.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:25 | 4623966 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

Can't talk about that, there isn't much left.

 

Stack On

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 21:48 | 4623629 Proofreder
Proofreder's picture

OK, so that's the Official Number set ...

Now, how about the Best Estimate ?  As in China, Russia, and Iran, maybe india.  Especially China.  Those numbers omit the physical WHERE gold is actually located today.  US vaults store the gold of many other countries - where is the accounting on that ??  International push comes to shove and the gold stays right where it is.  Frau Merkel best be nice.

    Who has the Physical Gold and How Much, Really?

And what are the odds that the Eight Thousand Tons plus are really in the physical possession of the USA and NOT being used as collateral for some Bush I oil deal with some SOB Prince Raghead ????  We'll probably never know.  Public Audit has as much chance as the White House being struck by a golden meteorite.

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 22:54 | 4623756 Hmmmmm
Hmmmmm's picture

Germany's gold is safe, backed by the full faith and credit of the USA,. Say it with me, it gets easier, USA USA USA USA USA USA USA

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 23:31 | 4623824 bigrooster
bigrooster's picture

How come ISNOTREAL does not produce any gold?  Could this have anything to do with the fact that the Ben talked bad about gold?  Did he have some kind of agenda or something?

/sarc

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 23:46 | 4623849 kurt
kurt's picture

So, Little Feller, It's remarkably easy to stake a claim on a real gold mine. I've done it. It's not that hard to get a truck load. If your mine is not too far in the mountains, you can even get it down and on the highway. Problem is you need a ball mill and an acid separation, using arsenic, operation, a pond, and a way to protect the environment (not really this is the post Cheney era after all). Well you gotta pay the mill and the refiner's and they just dump your ore in with the rest of it based on the assay, and you get a check. With a little hassle you can even get some actual gold.

My partner turned the office into a whore house and made way more money than we were making with the gold operation. So, I quit claimed my half to him so I wouldn't go to the big house. End of Story.

PS. This happened.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:03 | 4623948 lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture

Paper gold seems easier to mine.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:08 | 4623953 steveo77
steveo77's picture

Buy it, duh

 

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 04:31 | 4624100 giZmo
giZmo's picture

Anunnaki have the most gold.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 04:56 | 4624122 Calculus99
Calculus99's picture

Beautiful work guys, thanks a lot.

If you like the long term outlook for the metal there are 2 plays -

1. Own some physical and make sure it's IN YOUR POSSESSION, and

2. The big miners are draining their reserves. If they are to remain viable long term, they need to replace those reserves otherwise the companies will shrink until they're gone. They can a) look for new deposits (the hard thing to do, but more profitable if right) or they can buy already proven deposits (more expensive, but a surer bet). So the way to invest in the mining setor is to look to buy the smaller firms (in relation to the majors) that have promising deposits because chances are the majors are coming after them with their chequebooks open. This trade is for the next  several year,  don't expect fireworks tomorrow,  but it  has  to be a growing trend right now.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 05:23 | 4624140 Latitude25
Latitude25's picture

Some lies about the cost of mining gold and silver.

http://srsroccoreport.com/the-grand-deception-in-the-precious-metals-ind...

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 06:24 | 4624173 Clueless1
Clueless1's picture

It's the last element produced by a star, before that star dies.

 

Nucleosynthesis, bitchez!

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:18 | 4624210 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

There must be enormous amounts of Au in the earth's crust in deep deposits that can't be conventionally mined. Billions of tons. If you could find this gold, you could drill shafts to it and extract it with hot cyanide/O2 solutions. But how to find the gold? Maybe there is a way to do it with neutrino tomography.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:38 | 4625252 NoTTD
NoTTD's picture

What the fuck does that last statement mean?  "Supply must always meet demand"?  Nonsense.

 

Second, I like the way it skims over the paper market's distortion of reality.

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:44 | 4625270 NoTTD
NoTTD's picture

Based on current market reasoning, the drop in production, quality of reserves, etc., will casuse and immediate price drop.  This shit is waaaayyyy overpriced!

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