The Largest Gold and Rare Earths Countries

Updated: Apr 29, 2024 | Published: Apr 29, 2024
Verified Investing
By Verified Investing
The Largest Gold and Rare Earths Countries

For thousands of years, the countries that had the gold made the rules. Even today, gold is held by governments and individuals alike as a financial asset. So, where does all the gold come from?

Gold Production

Gold Production

  1. CHINA (370 mt)
  2. (tie) AUSTRALIA (310 mt)
  3. (tie) RUSSIA (310 mt)
  4. CANADA (200 mt)
  5. US (170 mt)

Annual gold production can be affected by the market price for gold. Some mines, especially older ones, can be unprofitable at lower gold prices and cease operations. This lowers global gold production. Substantial gold rallies like the one in 2024 will have mining companies reopening these now-profitable mines.

The depletion of existing gold reserves and the difficulty of replacing them have been hampered in recent years by the difficulty in finding new large deposits.

Gold Deposit Reserve

Gold Deposit Reserves

  1. AUSTRALIA (12,000 mt)
  2. RUSSIA (11,100 mt)
  3. SOUTH AFRICA (5,000 mt)
  4. (tie) US (3,000 mt)
  5. (tie) CHINA (3,000 mt)

NOTE: global gold reserves are estimated at 59,000 mt

The gold reserves that a mining company can list as assets can change in several different ways:

  • The market price for gold.
  • Further geological testing and exploration of the area.
  • Advances in technology that allow for cheaper recovery.
  • Changing environmental laws.

Rare Earth

What Are Rare Earths?

Rare earths are 17 visually similar, silvery-white soft metals. The term “rare earths” was coined after Yttrium was discovered in 1787. The chemical properties of most rare earths make them difficult to separate and refine from ores.

Most of the rare earths were not isolated until the mid-19th century, earning them the description of “rare.” “Earths” was the term used to describe minerals that were dissolvable in acid.

Today, we know that rare earths are not generally rare. For example, Cerium is five times more common than lead in the Earth’s crust. However, most are only found in trace amounts. Prometheum for example is not found naturally except in trace amounts in uranium ore that has fissioned spontaneously.

These rare earth trace deposits require massively more mining to get reasonable yields when compared to gold.

Rare Earth production

Rare Earths Production

  1. CHINA (210,000 mt)
  2. US (43,000 mt)
  3. AUSTRALIA (18,000 mt)
  4. BURMA (12,000 mt)
  5. THAILAND (7,100 mt)

Rare earths are vital for economic and military industries. China has had a stranglehold on rare earths production for years, and has habitually punished other nations over politics by witholding exports of rare earths metals. This has led to intense efforts by other nations to expand rare earths production on national security grounds.

rare Earth Deposit Reserves

Rare Earths Deposit Reserves

  1. CHINA (44 million mt)
  2. VIETNAM (22 million mt)
  3. (tie) BRAZIL (21 million mt)
  4. (tie) RUSSIA (21 million mt)
  5. INDIA (6.9 million mt)

Demand for rare earths results in higher prices, which make developing less-promising resources economically viable. Most production is in countries with lax environmental laws on mining, allowing more deposits to be developed. This is especially true in Sub-Saharan Africa, where China is working to expand their lead in rare earths.

Periodic Table Showing Gold and Rare Earth Metals

The Rare Earth Metals

  • Scandium (Sc)
  • Cerium (Ce)
  • Promethium (Pm)
  • Gadolinium (Gd)
  • Holmium (Ho)
  • Ytterbium (Yb)
  • Yttrium (Y)
  • Praseodymium (Pr)
  • Samarium (Sm)
  • Terbium (Tb)
  • Ezbium (Er)
  • Lutetium (Lu)
  • Lanthanum (La)
  • Neodymium (Nd)
  • Europium (Eu)
  • Dysprosium (Dy)
  • Thulium (Tm)