South African Gold Production Dives Again To 90 Year Lows

Tyler Durden's picture

From GoldCore

South African Gold Production Dives Again To 90 Year Lows

Gold’s London AM fix this morning was USD 1,646.75, EUR 1,262.26, and GBP 1,052.57 per ounce.

Yesterday's AM fix was USD 1,662.00, EUR 1,271.61 and GBP 1,057.93 per ounce.

Gold fell more than 2% in New York yesterday and closed at $1,643.80/oz. Gold fell in Asia and its low hit $1,635.66/oz and high of $1,649.9/oz, and is now trading sideways in Europe at $1,647.05/oz.

Gold recovered some strength on Thursday after a drop in the prior session attracted bargain hunters, however a strong dollar and diminished expectations of more QE in the US made the yellow metal vulnerable to more selling.  

Gold has dropped around 8% since late February as institutional funds appeared to have closed out of their bullish gold bets on worries the Fed will not embark on another round of QE to keep interest rates and borrowing costs low.  The dollar hit an 11 month high against the yen and a 1 month peak against the euro on Thursday on growing hopes of a US economic recovery and continuing rises in U.S. bond yields. 

South Africa's gold output fell again in January and was down a very large 11.3% in volume terms in January.  Annual gold production is set to be close to 220 tonnes which is a level of gold production not seen since 1922 (see chart below). 

The falls were seen only in the gold market with production of other minerals holding up with total mineral production down only 2.5% compared with the same month last year.

South Africa as recently as two decades ago was the world's largest producer of gold by a huge margin. Only 40 years ago South Africa produced more than 1,000 tonnes of gold per annum but will only produce some 220 tonnes in 2012. Production peaked in 1970 and has been falling steadily and sharply since.

The nearly 80% fall in South African gold production has led to it being recently overtaken by China, Australia and the U.S.  It is now even at risk of being overtaken by Russia.

The scale of the collapse is such that it is worth considering the possibility that the Apartheid regime may have exaggerated the size of South African gold production. Indeed, similar questions could be asked of the massive increase in China's gold production in recent years and whether Chinese gold production tonnage figures are exaggerated.

The massive 11.3% decline in South Africa was more than even that seen in December when gold output fell by 8.2%.

The continuing output decline is due to many of the country's biggest gold mining operations having reached the ends of their lives and having closed down.

Old mines that are still operating are mostly getting deeper and deeper with safety concerns a limiting factor, while new operations coming on stream tend to be either small by comparison, low grade, or both.

South Africa's continuing gold production decline is not cyclical and is permanent and is another bullish factor for the gold market in the long term.

Geological constraints mean that there is little prospect of any serious reversal in the trend. Geological and the lack of any major gold finds anywhere in the world in the last 20 years also suggest that the supply side of the gold equation remains bullish.

The decline in South African production has been a major contributor to at best flat global gold production over the past few years. 

Indeed, some data suggests that global gold production may have peaked in the early 2000s.

In the light of the continuing strong fundamentals, this is another healthy correction in the gold market as investment demand is set to remain strong for the foreseeable future while supply remains tight.

Also, central banks are increasingly reluctant to sell their gold reserves and indeed some increasingly wealthy and powerful central banks are adding to their reserves or attempting to gain control of the reserves of smaller debtor nations.

For breaking news and commentary on financial markets and gold, follow us on Twitter.

Silver is trading at $32.30/oz, €24.75/oz and £20.61/oz. 

Platinum is trading at $1,673.00/oz, palladium at $689./oz and rhodium at $1,450/oz.


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cossack55's picture

No sweat. Low demand for relics this time of year.

GetZeeGold's picture



Crap.......peak gold.


Pladizow's picture

Peak Resources + Peak Debt = Peak US War!

trav7777's picture

ionic liquids and "new technology" can resurrect this.

In reality, geology plus the TRIUMPH OF DIVERSITY.  RSA is gone...cooked, fork.  Only if the white people rise up and secede from the nation will there be any reversal.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Light sweet crude iz een eh bauble.

akak's picture

Only if the white people rise up and secede from the nation will there be any reversal.

Once again, The Grand Wizard of the Kooky-Klux Klan has spoken --- it is all the fault of those fucking niggers.

And for those who are down-arrowing me, by doing so you are implicitly supporting the mindless, malignant racism of Trav7777.  Good job.

AnAnonymous's picture

Made me laugh.

Typical US citizen speech. US citizens are going to beat the environment.

Less and less gold underground but let US citizens in charge and you will get more and more of it.


akak's picture

Ironic, this coming from a citizen of the most egregiously polluting, environmentally destructive, rapaciously resource-overexploiting, all-around blobbing-up regime in the world today.  Make me laugh!  But chinese citizenism is nothing if not hypocritical.

AnAnonymous's picture

If Chinese had been as environmentally destructive as US citizens, it would be known.

Once again, denial of the most obvious facts.

akak's picture

If Chinese had been as environmentally destructive as US citizens, it would be known.

And it IS known, widely if not almost universally.

But not acknowledged by desperate defenders of an evil, totalitarian, censorship-happy and resource blobbing-up chinese citizenism regime such as yourself.

Once again, denial of the most obvious facts.

Like your wholesale rewriting of history, as demonstrated by your egregiously dishonest and bigoted babblings about Easter Island?

You make me laugh!

AnAnonymous's picture

Dishonest? How?

You brought nothing.

You created the fantasy that first contact had to be the lethal touch.

Never wrote something like that.

Contact with US citizens is what sank the islanders. Not contact with Europeans, pre US citizenism.

Chinese express their talent mostly on their own ground, US citizens have the whole world as their playground.

Once again, an issue of scale.

akak's picture

Insane babbling, nothing more.

The fact that NO US ship ever even touched the shores of Easter Island prior to that population's decimation at the hands of European-introduced foreign diseases and Chilean slave traders means absolutely nothing to a dishonest and malignant troll like you, as it does not fit with your hysterical and irrational anti-American bigotry.  You are a gross liar and a troll of the most obvious kind.

Next, you will probably be blaming your mythical and meaningless "US citizenism" for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Black Death (which originated in China, fyi), and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

tarsubil's picture

Isn't it funny that the peak is 1970 right around the time Nixon closed the gold window? Perhaps this is Greshem's law and there is not much reason to dig gold out of the ground to just turn around and bury it again.

Born Patriot's picture

This is another example of how multiculturalism destroys economies. The new multicultural South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia are all failures. Segregation is the ONLY way forward. Ron Paul is one of the few politicians in America who understands this, and he is our last chance.

trav7777's picture

well, RSA gold production peaked long before the fall of apartheid.

Utter collapse like this in the face of depletion- this is the REALITY about which the intelligent and informed have been trying to warn people regarding the oil peak.  Resource depletion and decreasing production rates as a result thereof are fact. They are not conjecture and they are not theory.  Fact.

RSA's production collapse has been exacerbated by the handover of mines to people with no history of ever having mined anything anywhere, never having shown much interest in resource development for themselves, even if the resources were under their feet.  Never even knew the land had much value other than to say "me ownz dis."  You can witness the same trend historically in rhodesia as formerly very productive farms are now just weeds.  The natives weren't farmers or miners before colonization, why should we expect them to suddenly take it up after?  It's simply not in everyone's nature to mine things or farm things or develop civilizations.

Hell, some tribes there, such as the Massai, have only very recently graduated to agricultural ways of living instead of being nomads.  It is a continent full of primitive people.  They walk miles a day to get water from a well.  Nobody thinks to hey maybe we should drill down to the water table.  It's a leap of intelligence apparently out of reach of the population.

akak's picture

Dum stoopid niggirs!  It's ALL their fault!

Schmuck Raker's picture

Still afraid of Ron Paul, aren't you?

Why else the smear campaign?

Errol's picture

It is interesting to see that as economically recoverable SA gold resources are  depleted, production follows the same sort of gaussian curve as does oil production.  Down thread I expect to see claims from peak gold deniers about abiotic gold...

Quintus's picture

In other news, Wall St. paper gold production is at all time highs - so no supply issues to worry about.  As long as you don't want any actual gold, of course.

GetZeeGold's picture



Here.....let me write you a check for that IOU.


jcia's picture

For some reason I smell bullshit. Why would the CIA make a Kony video if they don't want something out of Africa?

I am about to think its oil.

FubarNation's picture

Africa is the new middle east.

AnAnonymous's picture

US citizens left control of SA after taking care of oil. Depletion is showing signs there and they want to switch to nuclear energy because of oil depletion progress.

Africa is already well integrated in the US citizen world plan of depletion of resources. It is not dysfunctional as extraction works smoothly.

If you want fresh territories, go toward the former USSR territory, big poppa commie failed to consume its satellites at the US citizen consumption rate.

But as US citizens could not consume those territorities because they were big poppa commie's territories, well, you've got some room to grow the depletion of resources plan.

akak's picture

Yes, the stellar record of Chinese citizenism in regard to resource overexploitation, environmental degradation, gross overpopulation and general blobbing-up is far superior to that of the round eyes.

AnAnonymous's picture

Behind US citizens's record.

Chinese are small league players.

Pushing them forward is an embarrassment when light catchers like US citizens are on the scene.

See what happens in South Africa. Not the job of Chinese but of US citizens.

Now quite a number of people are going to live on a depleted place.

Thanks to US citizens. Not Chinese.

akak's picture

A few facts will rest my case:

Which nation has 300 million citizens, and which has 1300 million rabbit-breeding citizens living in roughly the same area?

Which nation is undergoing the most extreme rates of desertification in the world today?

Which nation is experiencing the worst rate of farmland loss due to urbanization in the world today?

Which nation is suffering the worst urban pollution in the world today?

Hypocrisy, thy name is chinese citizenism!

AnAnonymous's picture

At least, the Chinese are depleting their own area.

Or is there another US citizen scam like doing it to its own people?

US citizens are depleting the world.

The Chinese are depleting their land within the US world order, to serve the purpose US citizens assigned to them, that is soaking inflation as generated by US citizen economics.

What is that obsession with small players?

What next? That the negroes in Africa deplete their part of the african continent or something?

US citizen work. US citizen systemics at work.

BLOTTO's picture

Oil or to mobilize troops in the area.

trav7777's picture

I have people very close to me in Africom...this is a new frontier for the movement.

Africa is a resouce-rich continent occupied by people of very low average intelligence.  It will be the same challenge it has always been because civilization simply WILL NOT "emerge" there without almost unilateral imposition by "colonizers."

akak's picture

Itz all a-bein' du fawlt of dem dum niggirs!

vato poco's picture

Damn, dude, you're - what - 3-for-3 on cutesy "niggers!" rejoinders to anything that guy says now. Can't help yourself, can you? Y'know, based *solely* on your tired little 'shout him down!' or 'marginalize anything he says!' tactic, I'll bet you I can forecast with 100% accuracy what party you reflexively straight-ticket vote for in every election; and the sum total of your ideology.

Further, I can also predict you'll lie about it if you respond to this in any way that's not "niggers! or "KKK!"

akak's picture

So the blatant, deep-seated, profoundly hateful, kneejerk racism of Trav is OK by you, but my mocking rejoinders to that racism is not?  Curious how your vitriol is directed at me and NOT at the one constantly spouting hateful, malicious racist bullshit.

As an aside, your assumptions about me are uniformly incorrect --- in fact, I have NEVER voted for any political candidate who has subsequently been voted into office, having usually voted Libertarian.

akak's picture

Sockpuppet of Trav7777 much?

Thank you for demonstrating such a complete lack of intelligence that I can without hesitation now ignore all subsequent posts under your handle.

vato poco's picture

Hell, while I'm showing off my massive prognosticationality skillz, having aced a) your political ideology and the fact that b) you'd deny it, I will now make yet another Amazin' Prediction: you'll have to answer back. Since, as everyone knows, angry leftists are simply unable to let someone else have the last word. They *have to* fire back a snotty little rejoinder, so they can tell themselves, "I won!", as well as satisfy their ingrained-by-the-profs "shout the heretic down!" urges. Y'all just can't NOT do it, can ya, Fidelito?

Time will tell....My guess is within the hour.

AnAnonymous's picture

Africa is a resouce-rich continent occupied by people of very low average intelligence.


Well, after US citizens departure, there will be much less resources. Much, much less.

akak's picture

Since it is in fact the blobbing-up chinese who are establishing resource colonies in Africa all in the pursuit of ever-more furious rates of resource extraction, you would once again (as always) be wrong.  Your villians in this case are YOU chinese yourselves.

Hypocrisy, deceit and lies are the eternal nature of chinese citizenism.


AnAnonymous's picture

Chinese in Africa? They are laggers. Bear with it.

They are oceans behind US citizens.

What's that obsession with focusing on poor achievers?

US citizen dream is about high achievers, not losers.

Chinese are losers when it comes to extract resources in Africa.

US citizens, best, no comparison.

akak's picture

If anyone here ever needed a demonstration of what an online troll is in its very worst manifestations, well, here it is.

Chinese citizenism: blobbing-up since 2000 BC.

AnAnonymous's picture

More ad hominems, more denial, more can kicking.

Only references to an exterior, to fantasy. Impossible to tackle reality as it is.

That is the result of US citizenism. That set of beliefs implemented from 1776, July, 4th on.

Well done.

akak's picture

Go publicly pick your nose and spit on a sidewalk, chinese citizenism citizen --- those ARE your national pasttimes, after all.

You, however, are obviously VERY comfortable with the authoritarian, totalitarian set of chinese citizenism beliefs introduced by Chin Shi Huang Di in 246 BC.

FubarNation's picture

Those morons in "Gold Rush" better get their shit together and stop fucking around.

Long-John-Silver's picture

They would have been dead broke long ago but for the money from the production of the show. They lost money the first year. The second year they found enough Gold so each of them got $8,000. This equates to working for $333.33 a month. A minimum wage job would pay $1,160 a month.

xela2200's picture

Even worst than that, they invested their life's savings also. They could have sit at home getting interest from a CD.

MachoMan's picture

Actually, I don't think any of them had a pot to piss in except for old man hoffman...  they then begged and borrowed everything they could from other people.  They have an incredible amount of "SEE!  YOU CAN STILL DO THIS IN MERICA!  DETERMINE YOUR OWN FATE AND LIVE FREE!," but fail to acknowledge that it is america's disfunction that has allowed them the opportunity to squander others' money.  Tsk tsk.


trav7777's picture

Gold Rush is an incredibly successful television show, one of the most popular on right now.

It's not about gold mining, it is a drama against the backdrop of gold mining, with some get rich quick undertones.

The TV show has made all the actors on it wealthy; the gold is just a TV prop.

carguym14's picture

"Interest from a CD"