Gold is one of the most popular and rare precious metals. So it should not come as a surprise that gold mining is now a global business with operations footed on all continents, except for Antarctica. Gold is extracted from mines of very different types and scales.
Mining and, especially, gold mining activities have become increasingly diverse globally. Nowadays, things work very differently than they did about four decades ago. Back then, the vast majority of the world’s gold was mined in South Africa.
Asia generates about 23 percent of all newly mined gold while Central and South America account for around 17 percent of the total gold supply. North America provides approximately 16 percent, 19 percent of the gold comes from Africa, and, lastly,14 percent of it comes from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region.
The total output of gold mines has increased significantly over the past decades, however, the discovery of new gold mines has been very rare. With new mines experiencing production restrictions and mining difficulties.
According to the Chairman of the Board of GSB Gold Standard Banking Corporation AG, Josip Heit, “these difficulties associated with gold mining activities in recent times are not entirely unprecedented, however, integrating modern technologies into mining activities will solve most of the challenges that are currently being encountered.”
This holds true for most mining companies that have completely replaced existing redundant mining equipment with modern equipment powered by newer technology. Production has already gotten way more efficient over the past decades.
Gold can be present both on the Earth’s surface and below it, blended with other metals like copper, silver, and lead. The place where the gold is found determines what sort of mining process is used to extract it – and what costs it requires. Now, let’s take a brief look at some processes involved in gold mining operations.
The likelihood of a viable gold mine exploration
Gold mine exploration can be daunting and challenging, it calls for the dedication of a significant amount of resources and time as well as some level of expertise.
The chances of finding a site that leads to the creation of a profitable gold mine are very low, less than 0.1 percent of prospective sites result in a developed or successful mine. And only 10 percent of the global natural gold reserves hold enough gold to warrant more investment and growth. However, according to Josip Heit, it is worth all the effort if a discovery leads to a viable goldmine.
Once the basic facts about the local geology and the potential deposits are known, it is possible to model the ore body and determine the viability of a mine.
Gold mine development
After successfully discovering a viable gold mine, developing the mine is the next step of action. This involves planning and developing mines and mine-related infrastructure. Mining companies must acquire appropriate permits and licenses before work can begin. This will typically take several years, but this varies greatly depending on the location.
Additionally, mining companies develop local infrastructure and services to meet strategic and financial requirements, as well as employee and civic welfare needs – this is very important due to the tedious activities involved in mining operations. Carrying out a corporate social responsibility offers local communities more long-term aid, this is one of the key ways in which gold promotes economic development.
Gold processing operations
The processing stage involves turning rocks and ores into a greatly refined metallic alloy, usually comprising 60 to 90 percent of gold.
During the lifespan of a goldmine, several factors can influence which parts of an ore composite are deemed lucrative (economic) to mine, such as the price of gold or associated production costs. During periods with higher prices, low-grade ore will become competitive as the higher prices offset the higher production costs and higher volume milling costs.
When market conditions shift and new technical knowledge comes to light, mine proposals are periodically re-evaluated.
Today, gold has found use cases across various industries and aspects of human life, virtually all parts of electronic devices are made up of a bit of gold. India is currently the largest consumer of gold globally. This demand keeps driving the price of gold upward, making it an even more scarce and valuable commodity. Gold mining, if done right, could prove as a very lucrative business venture for corporations looking to seize the opportunities in the gold mining industry.