Gold facts

Gold is a precious metal most commonly used in jewellery (rings, necklaces, watches, etc.). Gold is mined in nine Canadian provinces and territories.

Key facts

  • Gold is Canada's most valuable mined mineral, with a production value of $8.7 billion in 2017
  • Ontario and Quebec together accounted for more than 75% of mined gold production in Canada in 2017
  • In 2017, the value of Canadian gold exports was $18.6 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 microcircuitry in a range of electronic products.

Investors buy gold in the form of wafers, bars and coins, 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, 2017

Text version

This circular chart shows the global demand for gold in 2017. The largest share of gold uses was for jewellery (55.5%), followed by investment (25.8%), technology (9.5%) and central bank net purchases (9.2%).

Production

Canadian mines produced an estimated 176 tonnes of gold in 2017, which represents an 80% increase over the 2008 production. In 2017, mine production increased in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Nunavut, which offset declines in Ontario and Yukon.

In 2017, Ontario and Quebec produced more than 75% of the gold mined in Canada. Other provinces, like British Columbia, and the territories contributed to the overall Canadian production of gold.

Canadian gold production, by region, 2017 (p)
Ranking Province/Territory Thousand troy ounces Kilograms Percentage of total
1 Ontario 2,449.3 76,182.7 43.2%
2 Quebec 1,844.3 57,365.8 32.6%
3 British Columbia 633.8 19,714.9 11.2%
4 Northwest Territories and Nunavut 398.1 12,381.8 7.0%
5 Prairies 215.4 6,700.0 3.8%
6 Yukon 103.5 3,220.6 1.8%
7 Atlantic provinces 21.7 674.4 0.4%
Total for Canada 5,666.1 176,240.3 100.0%

Canadian gold production, 2008–2017 (p)

Text version

This bar graph shows Canada's annual gold mine production from 2008 to 2017. Production was 96.5 tonnes in 2008, followed by an increase to 176 tonnes in 2017.

International context

The world gold mine production reached an estimated 3,246.5 tonnes in 2017.

Find out more about gold production on an international scale:

The top five gold-producing countries accounted for 43% of the world's annual gold output in 2017.

World gold mine production, by country, 2017 (p)
Ranking Country Tonnes Percentage of total
1 China 426.1 13.1%
2 Australia 295.0 9.1%
3 Russia 270.7 8.3%
4 United States 230.0 7.1%
5 Canada 176.2 5.4%
6 Indonesia 154.3 4.8%
- Other countries 1,694.6 52.2%
World total 3,246.5 100.0%

World gold mine production, 2008–2017 (p)

Text version

This bar graph shows the world's annual gold mine production from 2008 to 2017. Production was 2,466 tonnes in 2008 followed by a gradual increase to 3,246 tonnes in 2017.

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, world reserves of gold ore were estimated at 54,000 tonnes in 2017.

World reserves of gold, by country, 2017 (p)
Ranking Country Thousand tonnes
1 Australia 9.8
2 South Africa 6.0
3 Russia 5.5
4 United States 3.0
5 Indonesia 2.5
6 Canada 2.4
- Other countries 24.8
Total 54.0

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 2017, the value of Canadian gold exports was $18.6 billion
  • Canada's exports of gold in unwrought form increased to 334 tonnes in 2017, up from 315 tonnes in 2016
  • The value of these exports increased to $17.0 billion in 2017, up from $16.4 billion in 2016
  • The value of Canada's exports of gold in metal ores and concentrates increased to $754.0 million in 2017, up from $472.0 million in 2016

Imports

  • The value of gold imports in Canada was $9.0 billion in 2017
  • Canada imported 234 tonnes of gold in unwrought form in 2017, valued at $7.1 billion. In 2016, Canada imported 410 tonnes of gold, with a value of $7.4 billion

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 2017 began at US$1,192.6 per troy ounce, peaked at US$1,282.3 per troy ounce and finished the year at US$1,261.3 per troy ounce.

Gold prices, monthly average, 2008–2017

(US$/fineFootnote * troy ounce)

Text version

This line graph shows the monthly average gold price in US dollars from 2008 to 2017. The price was $889.60 per troy ounce in January 2008. It peaked at $1,771.85 per fine troy ounce in September 2011 and ended 2017 at $1,261.25 per troy ounce.

Recycling

Gold 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 on to their gold jewellery is the price of gold in their respective currencies.

When there is a higher local currency value for gold in a country, it usually increases the scrap supply (recycled gold) available in that country. The scrap supply of gold decreased to 1,210 tonnes in 2017, from 1,306 tonnes in 2016.

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 uses, 2017
    • World Gold Council

Production

  • Canadian gold production, by region, 2017 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada
  • Canadian gold production, 2008–2017 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada

International context

  • World gold mine production, by country, 2017 (p)
    • GFMS; Thomson Reuters
  • World gold mine production, 2008–2017 (p)
    • GFMS; Thomson Reuters
  • World reserves of gold, by country, 2017 (p)
    • U.S. Geological Surveys

Prices

  • Gold prices, monthly average, 2008–2017
    • The London Bullion Market Association (PM Fix)