Gold facts

Gold is a precious metal most commonly used in jewellery (rings, necklaces, watches, etc.). Gold is mined across the country in 9 of Canada’s provinces and territories.

Key facts

  • Gold is Canada’s most valuable mined mineral, with a production value of $8.35 billion in 2016.
  • Ontario and Quebec combined for almost 80% of mined gold production in Canada in 2016.
  • In 2016, the value of Canadian gold exports was $18.5 billion.

Learn more about gold

Uses

The most common use of gold is in jewellery (rings, necklaces, watches, etc.). Approximately 10% of the demand for gold is for use in technology applications, mostly as a component of micro-circuitry in a range of electronic products.

Investors buy gold in the form of wafers, bars and coins that, when purchased, are believed to offer a measure of protection from the risks of inflation and market volatility. Gold-bearing exchange-traded funds are another source of investment demand for gold.

Gold demand, 2016

Text version

This pie chart shows the global demand for gold in percentages in 2016. The largest share of gold demand was for jewellery (53.1%), followed by investment (29.7%), technology (9.9%) and central bank net purchases (7.2%).

Production

Canadian mines produced an estimated 165 tonnes of gold in 2016, which represents a 60% increase compared to 2011 production. In 2016, mine production increases in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon offset declines in Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In 2016, Ontario and Quebec produced almost 80% of the gold mined in Canada. Other provinces like British Columbia and the territories contribute to the overall Canadian production of gold.

Canadian gold production, by region, 2016 (p)
Ranking Province/Territory Thousand troy ounces Kilograms Percentage of total
1 Ontario  2,534.6 78,836.3 48.3%
2 Quebec 1,671.0 51,973.5 31.9%
3 British Columbia 426.4 13,263.1 8.1%
4 Northwest Territories and Nunavut 306.0 9,517.8 5.8%
5 Prairie provinces 174.4 5,424.7 3.3%
6 Yukon 111.4 3,463.9 2.1%
7 Atlantic provinces 21.1 656.6 0.4%
- Canada total  5,244.9 163,136.0 100.0%

Canadian production of gold, 2007–2016 (p)

Text version

This bar chart shows Canada’s annual mine production of gold from 2007 to 2016. Production was 102.4 tonnes in 2007 followed by a downward trend to 96.5 tonnes in 2008. It then trended upward to reach 163.1 tonnes in 2016.

International context

World mine production of gold reached an estimated 3,222 tonnes in 2016.

Find out more about gold production on an international scale:

The top 5 gold-producing countries accounted for 44% of the world’s annual gold output in 2016.

World gold mine production, by country, 2016 (p)
Ranking Country Tonnes Percentage of total
1 China 453.5 14.1%
2 Australia 290.5 9.0%
3 Russia 253.5 7.9%
4 United States 236.0 7.3%
5 Indonesia 168.2 5.2%
6 Canada 165.0 5.1%
- Other countries 1,655.6 51.4%
- World total 3,222.3 100.0%

World gold mine production, 2007–2016 (p)

Text version

This bar chart shows the world’s annual mine production of gold from 2007 to 2016. Production was 2,538 tonnes in 2007 followed by a gradual upward trend to reach 3,222 tonnes in 2016.

World reserves

Mineral ore reserves of gold are generally calculated based on what can be economically and technically extracted. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, estimates of world reserves of gold ore are around 57,000 tonnes in 2016.

World reserves of gold, by country, 2016 (p)
Ranking Country Thousand tonnes
1 Australia 9.5
2 Russia 8.0
3 South Africa 6.0
4 United States 3.0
5 Indonesia 3.0
6 Canada 2.4
- Other countries 25.1
- Total 57.0

The Bank of Canada no longer holds gold as part of its international reserves. This is the result of a Government of Canada decision to diversify its portfolio by selling its physical commodities and investing in financial assets that are easily tradable.

Trade

Exports

  • In 2016, the value of Canadian gold exports was $18.5 billion.
  • Canada’s exports of gold in unwrought form declined to 315 tonnes in 2016, from 337 tonnes in 2015.
  • While exports of unwrought gold declined, the value increased to $16.4 billion in 2016, from $15.8 billion in 2015.
  • The value of Canada’s exports of gold in metal ores and concentrates decreased to $472 million in 2016, from $624 million in 2015.

Imports

  • The value of gold imports in Canada was $9.2 billion in 2016.
  • Canada imported 410 tonnes of gold in unwrought form in 2016, up from 366 tonnes in 2015, while the value decreased to $7.4 billion in 2016 from $8.3 billion in 2015.

Prices

Gold prices in the last decade have seen a steep increase, peaking in September 2011 at US$1,771.85 per troy ounce. The price of gold in 2016 began at US$1,082.25 per troy ounce, peaked in July at US$1,366.25 per troy ounce and finished the year at US$1,145.90 per troy ounce.

Gold prices, monthly average, 2007–2016

Text version

This line chart shows the monthly average gold price in U.S. dollars from 2007 to 2016. The price was $630.84 per troy ounce in January 2007. It peaked at $1,771.85 per ounce in September 2011 and ended 2016 at $1,151.40 per ounce.

Recycling

Gold is a metal that is continually being recycled, mostly in the form of old jewellery that is melted down for its gold content. The main motivation for consumers to sell or hold onto their gold jewellery is the price of gold in their respective currencies.

A higher local currency value for gold usually increases the scrap supply (recycled gold) available in that country. The scrap supply of gold increased to 1,268 tonnes in 2016, from 1,172 tonnes in 2015.

In recent years, the amount of gold recovered from end-of-life electronic products has increased steadily.

Notes and sources

(p) preliminary

Totals may be different because of rounding.

All dollars are Canadian unless otherwise indicated.

Uses

  • Gold demand, 2016
    • World Gold Council

Production

  • Canadian gold production, by region, 2016 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada
  • Canadian production of gold, 2007–2016 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada

International context

  • World gold mine production, by country, 2016 (p)
    • GFMS; Thomson Reuters
  • World gold mine production, 2007–2016 (p)
    • GFMS; Thomson Reuters
  • World reserves of gold, by country, 2016 (p)
    • U.S. Geological Surveys

Prices

  • Gold prices, monthly average, 2007–2016
    • The London Bullion Market Association (PM Fix)