Gold is one of the most sought after precious metals worldwide. There are about 90 countries that mine precious metals, and the top 10 gold-producing countries contribute almost 75% of the world’s annual gold production. However, India is the biggest consumer of gold; It buys about 800 tons of gold every year.
Gold has been taken as a symbol of strength, valor, wealth, happiness and intelligence since ancient times. Since it is a highly reactive metal, it is widely used to form compounds. Thanks to its high softness, ductility and resistance to corrosion, it is used in electrical cables and colored glass production. It is also widely used as an exchange, investment tool and in electronic chemistry. Your growing fondness for gold jewelery is known all over the world. Gold deposits are found in different parts of the world, from South Africa and Australia to Russia and Peru. While the United States is a major producer, China is emerging as the largest gold producer, surpassing them all. Production from the top ten countries is approximately 3,000 tons of gold contributing almost 75% of the total production worldwide.
Gold (Au), the chemical element, is a bright yellow precious metal in Group 11 (Ib), Period 6, of the Periodic table. Gold has several properties that make it extraordinarily valuable throughout history. It is attractive in color and gloss, durable to the point of virtual indestructibility, highly formable and often found in nature in a relatively pure form. The history of gold cannot be compared with the history of any other metal due to its perceived value from the earliest times.
Chemical Properties of Gold
Precious metal gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au. It contains details of some of its properties in the periodic table, including its square, atomic weight, atomic number, and crystal structure.
Atomic number 79
Atomic weight 196.967
Melting point 1,063 ° C (1,945 ° F)
Boiling point 2,966 ° C (5,371 ° F)
Specific gravity 19.3 at 20 ° C (68 ° F)
Oxidation states +1, +3
Electron arrangement [Xe] 4 f 14 5 days 10 6 s 1
Properties, Formations, and Uses
Gold is one of the densest of all metals and a good conductor of heat and electricity. It is also soft, the most soft and ductile among the elements; one ounce (28 grams) can be hammered into 187 square feet (about 17 square meters) in extremely thin sheets called gold leaves. Gold was one of the first metals to attract people’s attention, as it is visually pleasing, workable, and does not tarnish or corrode. Examples of elaborate gold work, many of which are in almost perfect condition, have survived from ancient Egyptian, Minoan, Assyrian, and Etruscan craftsmen, gold remains a highly preferred material for processing jewelry and other decorative objects.
Due to its unique qualities, gold has been the only material universally accepted in exchange for goods and services. Although silver is often the standard means of payment in the world’s trading systems, gold in the form of coins or bullion has at times played an important role as a high-value currency. When gold began to be issued extensively in the 19th century, the support unit for paper money systems began to serve, and World War I gold became the standard for all world currencies. Although the official role of gold in the international monetary system ended in the 1970s, the metal remains a highly respected reserve asset, and about 45 percent of all gold in the world is held by governments and central banks for this purpose. Gold is still accepted as an international payment instrument by all countries.
Gold is common in low concentrations in all igneous rocks. Its abundance is estimated at about 0.005 per million parts of the earth’s crust. It occurs mostly in the natural state, remaining chemically unbound except for tellurium, selenium and bismuth. The only naturally occurring isotope of the element is gold-197. Gold is often formed in association with lead and copper deposits, and although the amount present is often very small, it is freely recycled as a by-material for refining these base metals. Huge gold-bearing rock masses are unusual enough to be called ore. Two types of deposits with significant gold content are known and they are as follows:
• Hydrothermal veins associated with quartz and pyrite (fool’s gold)
• Both consolidated and unconsolidated placer deposits resulting from the erosion of gold-containing rocks.
Gold, along with other minerals, was transported from great depths in an aqueous solution and then separated from this solution by precipitation. Gold in rocks often occurs as invisible scattered grains, more rarely as scales large enough to be seen, and even more rarely as masses or veinlets. Crystals of about 2.5 cm (1 inch) or larger have been found in California, and masses of 90 kg (200 pounds) have been reported from Australia. The alluvial gold deposits in or along the streams were the main sources of metal for ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Other deposits in Lydia (now Turkey), Aegean territory and Iran (Iran), India, has been found in China and in other lands. During the Middle Ages, the main gold resources in Europe were the Saxon and Austrian mines. The age of gold production that followed the discovery of America by the Spanish in the 1490s is probably the biggest period the world has witnessed at that time. The exploitation of mines by the slave labor and the looting of palaces, temples and tombs in Central and South America has resulted in an unprecedented flow of gold that has truly destabilized Europe’s economic structure.
More than 225,000 kg (8,000,000 ounces) of gold, or 35 percent of world production, came from South America from Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the loquat from 1492 to 1600. New World mines, especially those in Colombia, continued to account for 61 and 80 percent of world production in the 17th and 18th centuries, respectively; In the 18th century, 1,350,000 kg (48,000,000 ounces) were increased. Russia became the world’s leading gold producer in 1823 and contributed a large part of the world supply for 14 years. In the second period of the expansion of production (1850-75), more gold has been produced in the world since 1492 than in all years, mainly due to discoveries in California and Australia. A third significant increase (1890-1915) was due to discoveries in Alaska, Yukon Territory (now Yukon) and South Africa. An important factor in increasing the world gold supply was the initiation of the cyanide process in 1890. This is for the recovery of gold from low grade ores and from ores containing very small, grain size gold. Gold production continued to increase throughout the 20th century, partly due to improvements in recovery methods and partly due to the continuous growth and expansion of South Africa’s gold mining activities.
In the late 20th century, four countries, South Africa, Russia, the United States and Australia accounted for two-thirds of the gold produced annually worldwide. In the early 21st century, China was the world leader in gold production. During this period, Australia, the United States of America, Russia, Canada and South Africa continued to supply large quantities of precious metals. Because pure gold is too soft to withstand prolonged use, it is often alloyed with other metals to increase its hardness for use in jewelry, gold items or coins. Most of the gold used in jewelry is alloyed with silver, copper, and nickel, copper, and zinc to produce a variety of yellow gold hues, and some zinc or white gold. As the ratio of silver in the color increases, the color of these gold alloys from yellow to white becomes lighter and this results in more than 70 percent silver and white alloys. It is also used to make silver or copper and gold alloys, gold coins and gold items, and in platinum or palladium jewelry. The content of gold alloys is expressed as 24. Carats are a 12-karat gold alloy 50 percent gold, and 24-karat gold is pure.
Due to its high electrical conductivity (71 percent of copper) and immobility, gold is the largest industrial use in the electrical and electronics industry for plate contacts, terminals, printed circuits and semiconductor systems. Thin gold films, which reflect 98 percent of incoming infrared radiation, have been used in satellites to control temperature and spacesuit visors to provide protection. It is similarly used in the windows of large office buildings, the golden color reduces the need for air conditioning and adds to the beauty. In addition, gold has been used in fillings and other dental repairs for a long time. Gold is one of the most noble transition elements, meaning it is the least chemically reactive. Although water reacts easily with halogens or solutions that contain or produce chlorine, such as regia, there is no interaction by oxygen or sulfur. It also dissolves in cyanide solutions in the presence of air or hydrogen peroxide. The dissolution in cyanide solutions can be attributed to the formation of the very stable dicyanourate ion [Au (CN) 2] -. Like copper, gold has a single outer electron d full shell, but on the other hand, there is little great similarity between gold and copper, despite the similarity of the electronic structure and ionization energies.
Top 10 Gold Producing Countries in the World
Mine production: 403 tons – Percentage of total foreign currency reserves: 1.7%
China is emerging as one of the largest consumers and producers of yellow metal. With a production of about 400 metric tons, it can easily be called a goose that lays a golden egg. Total production increased by about 11.7% and the country ranks fifth in terms of gold reserves.
Mineral production: 250 tons – Percentage of total foreign exchange reserves: 8.5%
Gold is one of the most important exports of this country and contributes approximately 14 billion dollars to the economy annually. Most Australian gold comes from Western Australia, the Super Pit, the country’s largest open-cut gold mine.
United States of America
Mine production: 230 tons – Percentage of total foreign currency reserves: 76.3%
Unlike China, where gold production has increased healthily, gold production in the United States has dropped by 4 tons. The USA has the world’s largest gold holding with approximately 8,133.5 tons, which accounts for almost 76.3% of total foreign reserves. Most of the gold mined comes from Nevada in the western region.
Mineral production: 230 tons – Percentage of total foreign exchange reserves: 9.9%
Although Russia is one of the largest gold producers, it still imports gold from other countries. The country purchased 57.6 tons of gold to increase its reserves to around 936.7 tons. Gold production in Russia increased by 6.8% compared to the previous years. The primary Russian gold company, Polyus Gold International, increased its gold production by 12%.
Mine production: 170 tons – Percentage of total foreign currency reserves: 12.7%
South Africa has fallen from the world’s highest producer position to the fifth largest producer within six years. Strikes in the country’s gold mines caused a sudden drop in total production output. There are 35 large-scale mines operating only in South Africa and contributing approximately 7% of the world’s gold production.
Mineral production: 165 tons – Percentage of total foreign currency reserves: 3.1%
It is one of the largest gold producers in South America with approximately 2,000 tons of gold reserves. This Latin American country continues to grow with mining for employment, but production has declined by 3% over previous years.
Mineral production: 102 tons – Percentage of total foreign exchange reserves: 0.3%
Although Canada is home to the world’s largest mining companies, there has been a decline in total production over the past few years. Barrick Gold Corporation in the country had the highest production level in recent years, with 7.42 million ounces.
Mine production: 95 tons – Percentage of total foreign currency reserves: 3.7%
House to Grasberg Mine Indonesia, one of the largest gold reserves in the world, contributes approximately 3.9% of world gold production. This country’s gold reserves are estimated at 3,000 tons, and its official gold assets are 73.1 tons.
Mine production: 90 tons – Percentage of total foreign currency reserves: None
The estimated current reserve in the country with over 40 gold deposits in the country is approximately 1,700 tons. Most of the gold is produced from the Muruntau mine, the country’s largest single open pit gold mine.
Mine production: 89 tons – Percentage of total foreign currency reserves: 8.4%
Known as Gold Coast in the past, Ghana accounts for almost 3.23% of world gold production. Interestingly, it increased production by 17% in one year. In addition, Ghana is the second largest gold producer in the African continent.