How much gold is there in the world?

Gold has fascinated humans for thousands of years. Its beauty, scarcity and unique properties have made it one of the most coveted metals on Earth. But how much of this precious metal actually exists worldwide? Here we explore the total known amounts of gold and where most of it resides.

Quick Gold Facts

Here are some key facts about the global gold supply:

  • Total worldwide supply is around 190,000 metric tons – This includes gold that has already been mined and gold still accessible in the ground.
  • Approximately 20% of that supply has been mined already – Meaning around 50,000 metric tons exists worldwide in purified form.
  • 75% is concentrated in jewelry. The rest is used for investments, technology, dentistry and medals/coins.
  • The USA, Germany, Italy and France hold the largest gold reserves.
  • South Africa has the most gold resources, followed by Russia and Australia.

How Much Gold Exists? Known Gold Reserves

The best current estimate is that around 190,000 metric tons of gold exists worldwide. Only about 20% of that has been mined so far. Here is how the known gold reserves break down:

Source Estimated Metric Tons
Jewelry 90,000
Private Investment 40,000
Official Reserves 35,000
Other Uses 25,000
Total 190,000

Jewelry makes up the biggest share at 90,000 tons. Most gold is alloyed with other metals to make it durable enough for jewelry. Private gold bars and coins make up another 40,000 tons held by individuals as investments.

Central banks and financial organizations hold around 35,000 tons of gold reserves, with the biggest stockpiles in the USA, Germany, Italy and France. Another 25,000 tons is used for technology, dentistry, medals and coins.

Mined Gold Supply

Of the total 190,000 ton estimate, around 50,000 tons has been mined already throughout history. Here are some details on the global mined gold supply:

  • 50,000 metric tons mined in total to date
  • 2,500-3,000 metric tons added each year from mining
  • 75% of gold is recycled from jewelry and electronics
  • Global gold mining peaked in 2015 at 3,300 tons and has declined since then

Approximately 2,500-3,000 metric tons of new gold is mined each year. About 75% of the gold produced is recycled from old jewelry, electronics and other sources. Global gold mining production peaked in 2015 and has been trending downwards since then.

Undiscovered Gold

In addition to the 190,000 known tons, some estimates suggest there could be another 40,000 tons waiting to be discovered. However, the costs and effort required to extract gold have increased considerably over the years. All of the easy to access, high concentration gold deposits have already been found.

New undiscovered gold would likely be in lower concentrations or deeper hard rock deposits. This makes it challenging and expensive to mine. Significant new gold deposits are unlikely to be identified. So the 190,000 ton figure is likely to be a reasonable estimate of total worldwide amount.

Where is the Gold Found?

Let’s look at which countries have the largest gold reserves and resources:

Top Gold Reserve Countries

A country’s gold reserves refers to the amount of gold held by their central bank or government. Here are the Top 10 reserve holders based on the latest data:

Country Gold Reserves (METRIC tons)
United States 8,133
Germany 3,362
Italy 2,451
France 2,436
Russia 2,299
China 1,948
Switzerland 1,040
Japan 765
India 615
Netherlands 612

The United States holds the most in reserves at over 8,000 metric tons. Germany comes in second, followed by Italy and France. Russia and China hold between 2,000 – 3,000 tons each.

Countries with Most Gold Resources

Gold resources refers to gold that is accessible in mines and undeveloped ore deposits. The countries with the largest gold resources are:

Country Estimated Gold Resources (METRIC tons)
South Africa 36,000
Russia 17,000
Australia 14,000
United States 4,000
Peru 3,500
Indonesia 3,000
Brazil 2,400
Canada 2,200
China 2,000

South Africa has the most with an estimated 36,000 tons still underground. Russia comes in second with 17,000 tons. Australia has the third most with 14,000 tons. The United States has around 4,000 tons of gold ore reserves.

Top Gold Producing Countries

The top gold producing countries are a mix of the nations with the largest gold reserves and those with significant mining industries. Here are the top 10 gold producing nations based on latest annual data:

Country Gold Production 2020 (METRIC tons)
China 368
Russia 330
Australia 325
United States 190
Canada 180
Peru 150
South Africa 120
Mexico 110
Indonesia 100
Brazil 95

China and Russia produce the most gold on an annual basis. Australia comes in third producing around 325 metric tons per year. The US produces 190 tons. Other major producers include Canada, Peru, South Africa, Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil.


Estimates suggest there are around 190,000 metric tons of gold reserves worldwide. Of that, only about 50,000 tons has been mined throughout history. The majority of gold is used for jewelry or held privately as investments.

Central banks hold around 35,000 tons of gold. The countries with the largest reserves include the United States, Germany, Italy and France. Most gold mining occurs in China, Russia, Australia, the US, Canada and Peru. South Africa has the most gold resources still underground while Australia has the largest reserves.

In summary, large amounts of gold still exist worldwide, especially underground and in jewelry or private holdings. While new gold discoveries are unlikely, recycling existing gold ensures this precious metal will continue to play an important role in society for many years to come.

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