Gold deposits can be found all over the world, and they often include additional elements in varying formations. For example, gold ore can be found in quartz veins, banded iron formations, epithermal veins, interlayered metavolcanic rocks, along with many other variations. Today’s commercial gold mines often involve several operations necessary to extract the precious metal from these deposits. In this post, we’ll look at the five largest gold mines in the world according to production volume as of 2022.
Location: Qizilqum Desert, Uzbekistan
Estimated Annual Production: 2 million ounces
The Muruntau gold mine is currently the largest open-pit gold mine in the world, measuring a whopping 3.5 by 2.5km on the surface and extending as far as 600m deep.
Not only is the mine itself the largest, but it is also believed to sit on top of the world’s most vast gold deposit. Scientists believe this location has so much gold due to a “perfect storm” of geological events that occurred over millions of years. These events included fluctuations in fault lines, the rise of mountains, and even the demise of an ocean that once existed in what’s now the Qizilqum desert. The mine is currently estimated to yield roughly 2 million of ounces of gold per year.
Location: Nevada, United States
Estimated Annual Production: 1.6 million ounces
The Carlin Trend isn’t just one gold mine, but rather a string of both open-pit and underground mines that extend along a stretch of Nevada’s landscape roughly 60km long and 8km wide. Gold was first discovered here in the 1870s, but in very small quantities. During the 1960s, the Newmont Mining Corporation discovered a large deposit and significant exploratory and extraction endeavors have since been put in place. At present, the Carlin Trend is the United States’ most lucrative gold mining location with more than 80% of the country’s gold coming from this special stretch of land.
Location: Severo-Yeniseysky, Russia
Estimated Annual Production: 1.2 million ounces
The Olimpiada Mine located within Russia’s Severo-Yeniseysky district is currently the third-largest gold mine in the world based on production volume. It’s owned and operated by Polyus, Russia’s largest gold producer. The company employs conventional shovel-and-truck open-pit methods to harvest the ore, and then uses proprietary bio-oxidation technology to treat the ore on-site. At present, the location is estimated to contain over 21 million ounces of gold.
Location: Sánchez Ramírez Province, Dominican Republic
Estimated Annual Production: 903 thousand ounces
This open-pit gold mine in north-central Dominican Republic is the largest gold mine in Latin America. There are two main sources of gold found within oxide deposits on the site, called Monte Negro and Moore, in addition to several smaller deposits. The mine, which is operated as a joint venture between Barrick Gold and Newmont Goldcorp, is currently going through an expansion initiative. It’s believed to sit on top of at least 6.55 million ounces of gold reserves and is expected to produce through 2040.
Location: Papua, Indonesia
Estimated Annual Production: 848 thousand ounces
The Grasberg mine is an interesting operation considering that it not only sits on one of the largest gold reserves in the world, but also one of the largest copper reserves. It’s located in a remote and mountainous area of Central Papua in Indonesia. The discovery of deposits here was somewhat accidental, first observed in 1936 when Dutch geologist Jean Jacques Dozy witnessed a unique rock formation while attempting to scale Puncak Jaya mountain. Given the site’s remote location, significant foreign investment was needed to begin any sort of formal mining operation, and it took decades for the world to act on the site’s potential. Initial mining operations finally began in 1963, with open-pit efforts beginning in 1990. Today, Grasberg now consists of one large open-pit mine and 4 underground mines. It’s estimated that the gold reserves beneath the site are worth around $40 billion.