South African Gold Production Drops for 14th Straight Month

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
By Paul Martin

SchiffGold.com
JANUARY 22, 2019

Gold output in South Africa fell for the 14th straight month in November. According to Bloomberg, it ranks as the longest streak of monthly declines since 2012.

Production fell 14% from a year earlier, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said in a statement on its website last week.

South Africa once led the world in gold production. The precipitous drop in the country’s mine output over the last few years is expected to continue and could foreshadow a long-term trend of falling gold production globally.

According to the Bloomberg report, most of South Africa’s gold mines are unprofitable at current prices.

Although South Africa still ranks eighth in the world in gold production, it continues to rapidly fall down the list of leading gold producers. In fact, South Africa may run out of gold within four decades, according to the Environmental Economic Accounts Compendium published by African Statistics Day. Analysts say that at current production levels, South Africa has only 39 years of accessible gold reserves remaining.

Large goldfields such as South Africa’s Witwatersrand Basin are nearing the end of their life cycles. More than 40% of all the gold mined in human history came from the Witwatersrand Basin. But annual gold output in South Africa has plummetted. In 1970, South African mines produced 1,000 tons of gold. Since then, production has steadily dropped. The country only produced 139.9 tons in 2017. That represents a better than 86% drop from the 1970 peak.

There are signs that global gold mine output is beginning to plateau. Some analysts even believe we may be at or near “peak gold” — the point where the amount of gold mined out of the earth will begin to shrink every year.

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