The late nineteenth century gold rushes marked the beginning of a dramatic expansion in gold production and spurred the development of the world’s leading producers: South Africa, United States and Australia.
While production in these countries has been declining over the last three decades–due to ageing mines and rising production costs–an influx of foreign investment has fueled a twentieth century gold rush in the developing world. In Peru and Indonesia alone, gold production has risen exponentially over the past ten years. Today, nearly 70 percent of total gold output originates in middle to low-income countries. Such development has fueled a worldwide debate about the economic, social, and environmental implications of gold mining.
The map below illustrates the distribution of gold production in 2006.
Sources: World Gold Council; Resource Investor.