The process of gold mining starts by finding a new digging site and start constructing the mining infrastructure. This process usually takes up to 15 years. According to the World Gold Council, less than 0.1% of prospected sites turn out to be profitable. The gold mining stage can last up to 30 years. The process involves extracting gold from rock.
This process involves, in many cases, the usage of the chemical element of mercury, in order to optimize the recovery of gold pieces from rocks. Mercury is highly poisonous, and in many gold mining sites, the processes leave a number of poisonous mining waste. These wastes are highly hazardous, and they are second only to nuclear waste. It is been estimated that 45,000 metric tons of mercury have been used for this process in California, and they haven’t been recovered.
The World Gold Council has created safety standards for gold mining, and they communicate the details in the following link https://www.gold.org/about-gold/gold-supply/responsible-gold
So far, it is estimated that 75% of the gold extracted so far has been extracted since 1910, and if we were to meld it together, it would create a 20m-side cube.
In our days, the mining of gold has been declined.
47% of the world’s reserves are been held as jewelry, and only 10% of new gold mined have industrial usage. An example would be the AKG C414 XLII gold condenser microphone. Sectors that use gold are medicine, cuisine, jewelry, and electronics.
The gold pureness is been measured in “karats,” with 24 karats or 24k been pure or fine gold.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has used the code ISO 4217 to standardize currencies and precious metals and separate naming confusion. Gold has “XAU” as its code, and this three-letter code is been used throughout the financial markets.
- The symbol in Financial Markets: XAU
- Example In a Pair: XAU / USD
The biggest percentage of the world’s gold is held into “gold bullions” also known as “gold bars,” and central banks are the biggest gold reserve holders. The U.S, Germany, Italy, France, and Russia make the top five countries per gold reserves in the world. These reserves are been help to support government expenditures but also to sustain their growth against the inflation rate. This exact usage has gold for retail investors.
The above-ground gold reserves are been worth $10,9 trillion, with a rate of $1,715 per ounce.
Gold has a variety of trading and investment vehicles. One can trade gold in a pair with other currencies like the XAU / USD pair, can buy or sell derivatives like futures or futures options, can buy gold ETFs, or invest in companies involved in gold mining and processing.
Gold is mainly used to hedge other investments and save the holder for downward moves, because historically when the overall economy is moving downwards, investors use gold as safe-heaven, and thus gold moves in the opposite direction.