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Insight & Analysis - May 5, 2022

African Countries with the Largest Gold Deposit

Gold is one of the world’s rarest elements, accounting for only 0.001 to 0.006 parts per million of the earth’s crust.

China is one of the countries with the largest gold production. According to Statista, China’s mines generated 370 metric tons of gold in 2021. 

On the other hand, Budgets for exploration have been continuously shrinking in recent years.

This begs the question of whether gold has finally reached its high. The low-hanging fruit has already been picked, and massive discoveries containing millions of ounces of gold are no longer being discovered at the same rate.

Think about South Africa. The country was formerly one of the countries with the largest gold deposit and production, with over 1,000 tonnes dug up in 1970, but its output has steadily fallen since then. 

As a result, the gold mining sector in Africa, which South Africa has previously controlled, has shifted its focus, with nations like Ghana, Suda, Mali, and Burkina Faso joining the fray.

Major firms such as Newmont Goldcorp, Kinross Gold, AngloGold Ashanti, Barrick Gold, and Gold Fields operate in the region, as are contentious artisanal miners, who are particularly active in Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso.

Here are 5 African countries with the largest gold deposit.

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1. South Africa – 118.2 tonnes 

Gold production in South Africa stands at 125 metric tonnes in 2021.

The Witwatersrand Basin, a South African subsurface geological structure, is home to one of the world’s greatest gold placer deposits. 

Some of the country’s top gold mines include South Deep, now owned by Harmony Gold and the world’s largest gold mine in terms of reserves, Mponeng, managed by AngloGold Ashanti. And also, the world’s deepest mines and Driefontein are among the country’s top gold mines, owned by Sibanye-Stillwater. 

Kromdraai, South Africa’s oldest mine, is now a popular tourist destination.

According to 2018 MiningGlobal data, South Africa still has 6,000 metric tonnes despite declining gold reserves. 

2. Sudan – 76.6 tonnes

Sudan, a country in northeast Africa, ranks third on this list, producing more than 76 metric tons of gold. 

For long years now, Sudanese gold has been found in the Eriab region of the Nuba mountains, along the alluvial regions of the Nile River, and quartz vein formations in Obaidiya, the Blue Nile region, and North Kurdufan.

Sudan’s gold mines include the Hassai gold mine, owned by Sudan’s Ariab Mining Company and Canada’s La Mancha Resources, and the Block 14 open pit mine project, managed by Canada’s Orca Gold. Sudan is Africa’s third-largest country by area.

3. Mali – 71.1 tonnes

Mali, a country in northwestern Africa, produced more than 71 metric tonnes of gold.

Mali’s gold mining operations include both huge mining firms and artisanal miners, who have generated a significant amount of gold and contributed significantly to the country’s economy.

The country’s gold mines include, Morila managed by the Government of Mali, AngloGold Ashanti, and Barrick Gold. Another mine is Sadiola managed by the Government of Mali, AngloGold Ashanti, and LamGold. 

There is also Loulo-Gounkoto managed by Barrick Gold, and Yatela managed by the Government of Mali, AngloGold Ashanti and LamGold.

According to the Norwegian website Eiti, Mali has 800 metric tons of gold deposits.

4. Burkina Faso – 62 tonnes

Burkina Faso ranks with 62 metric tons of gold production. 

Burkina Faso’s other important resources include copper, zinc, limestone, manganese, and phosphate, and it is said to have one of the most vibrant mining sectors in West Africa.

The gold mines in the country include Kalsaka owned and operated by Banlaw Africa Limited, Youga owned and operated jointly by the Government of Burkina Faso and Etruscan Resource, Karma owned and operated by Endeavour Mining.

There is also Mana owned and operated by Semafo, Yaramoko owned and operated by Roxgold, Taparko-Boroum owned and operated by Société des Mines de Taparko SA, Essakane owned and operated by IAMGOLD, and Inata jointly operated by the Government of Burkina Faso and Avocet.

According to Eiti, Burkina Faso’s gold reserves are estimated to be at 154 metric tonnes.

5. Ghana- 8.74 tonnes

From the first quarter of 2015 through the third quarter of 2021, Ghana’s gold reserves were 8.74 metric tons. 

Furthermore, gold mine production in the country increased by 150 metric tons in 2020, compared to the year before. Ghana’s gold output will not be halted in 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ghana’s government earned around 7.2 billion US dollars from gold in 2020. 

Gold contributes the most revenue to the country when compared to other minerals. As of 2019, the country exported nearly 10 billion dollars worth of gold while importing a smaller amount of the same resource.

While traditional firms and miners contribute to Ghana’s gold production, a few of the largest include Kinross Gold – Chirano mine, Newmont Goldcorp – Akyem and Ahafo mines, AngloGold Ashanti – Obuasi and Iduapriem mines, Gold Fields – works the Tarkwa gold mine, and Asanko Gold – Asanko mine.

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