Several trucks at the excavation site.

Gold has been used for millennia, and with all the ongoing mining globally, it would be strange to believe that the reserves of this precious metal will never be depleted. There will come a time when the world will run out of gold. The question is, how far is that time?

What Makes Gold Precious?

Gold is precious because it can’t be produced artificially like diamonds and other gems. It isn’t a result of some process, rather exists in its natural state, layered within the earth’s crust. Some of its distinguishable features are:

  • Rarity- Gold is difficult to find in comparison to other precious metals.
  • Valuable- Gold has profound economic value as a commodity, jewelry, art, or investment.
  • Naturally occurring- gold is present in the periodic table of elements, which means it is a naturally occurring metal.

How Much Gold Is Left

Earth has a finite gold supply that will run out in due time. The US Geological Survey reports only 52,000 tons of gold remaining in the earth’s crust. The global gold mining estimates about 3000 additional tons of mineable gold each year. With these estimates, underground gold can only be mined for seventeen more years.

On the contrary, gold reserves discovered since 1995 have remained unchanged. Old mine developments and recent discoveries are progressing at the same speed as the mine production. Despite the 3000 tons of gold we’ve been mining each year, the quantity of gold remains the same.

The fact that our planet will run out of gold is unnerving. However, we shouldn’t forget that gold can be recycled. Therefore, we won’t run out of gold like we would for a non-renewable resource, such as oil or coal. If the earth runs out of its natural supply of gold, industries will quit mining and transition to recycling alone.

Recycling Gold

A loaded truck passing through a mine.  

Even though we haven’t run out of gold yet, there’s no reason we should wait to start recycling it. Since gold is valuable and stable, it won’t degrade in quality after being recycled. The World Gold Council estimates that recycled gold contributes to 15% of annual gold consumption. If 3% of the existing gold is recycled, most of the global demand would be satisfied.

Contact Orion Metals Exchange today if you’re interested in investing in gold or any other type of precious metal. We have years of experience exchanging high-quality precious metals for your IRA account. For more details about us, click here.

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