The amount of new gold discovered has not kept up with the current pace of mine output, as the easy-to-reach gold deposits are being depleted, said a mining consultancy group on Tuesday, according to Kitco.com.
From 1997-2011, there have been 99 discoveries of gold deposits containing at least 2 million ounces of the metal, totaling 743 million ounces of gold in reserves, resources and past production as of the end of 2011, said the Metals Economics Group in a research report.
“Assuming a 75% resource-conversion rate and a 90% recovery rate during production, these 99 discoveries could potentially replace only 56% of the estimated gold mined during the same period, if they are economical to mine,” they said in their report,
“Strategies for Gold Reserves Replacement: The Costs of Finding and Acquiring Gold.”
The challenge for producers is “not that there is no gold left, but that all the ‘easy’ gold has been found,” they said.
The total amount of gold in reserves and resources at development-stage projects on a global scale roughly matches current mine production. “However, with increasing risk of political, regulatory, and tax instability in many resource-rich nations, declining grades, rising costs, and dramatically longer development times, the amount of gold available for production in the near term is likely far less than has been found,” they said.