Gold is a commodity that has inspired and enthralled humans for most of recorded history. Wars have been fought and lost over the promise of gold. Today, it remains the symbol of wealth and success, which begs the question: Will this floating rock we call Earth ever run out of gold?
How did gold come to Earth?
Meteorites and asteroids have struck Earth countless times throughout our planet’s history. When the world was still young, asteroids delivered metals, like gold, and scattered them across the earth’s crust into layers of rock. Millions of years later, humans began mining these metals and minerals.
Because gold is far rarer than other metals, it became a valuable commodity for cultures worldwide.
As human society advanced, the desire for gold also grew. Expeditions across the globe were commonplace. Quickly gold and other precious metals were being mined extensively worldwide.
Gold mining today
Gold is currently recognized as one of the most valuable precious metals, though the era of unlimited gold mining is in the past. Mining and commodities experts began sounding the alarm bells in 2018 when South African gold mines began to come up short.
This is a trend that began to echo across world markets. 2019 was the first recorded year that gold output sank, failing to top the levels reported the previous year. Suddenly, it seemed, the existing gold mines were running dry. Few new mines were being found and developed.
Gold mining is a risky endeavor. It is costly to finance a mine, and there are few ways to know how valuable it will be. This problem is complicated by the fact that most of the remaining active gold mines exist in regions with high levels of social and political instability.
However, the global demand for gold remains high, and according to experts, that is unlikely to change.
How much gold is left?
Gold is not a naturally occurring element on Earth. This means that every ounce of gold came from meteorites and asteroids crashing into the earth and embedding the metal in the earth’s crust. Because of this, the amount of gold on earth is finite.
While there is no way to know exactly how much gold remains to be mined, experts agree that there are few remaining, untouched gold deposits hidden in layers of rock. The world will run out of minable gold, though exactly when is unknown.
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Also, stay tuned to Garfield Refining’s blog for more fun and helpful articles about precious metals history, such as The Top 3 Most Popular Gold Rush Ghost Towns, Does Fort Know still have Gold?, and How did Gold get its Name?