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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, and is the highest valued commodity produced in Canada by value of production.

Key facts

  • Gold is Canada's most valuable mined mineral, with a production value of $10.3 billion in 2019
  • Ontario and Quebec together accounted for more than 75% of mined gold production in Canada in 2019
  • In 2019, the value of Canadian gold exports was $22.3 billion

Learn more about gold

Uses

The most common use of gold is in jewellery (rings, necklaces, watches, etc.), which accounts for almost half of global demand. Approximately 7.5% 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, believed to offer a measure of protection from the risks of inflation and market volatility. Gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETF) are another source of investment demand for gold.

Gold demand, 2019 (p)

Text version

This circular chart shows the global demand for gold in 2019. The largest share of gold uses was jewellery (48.4 %), followed by investment (29.2%), central bank net purchases (14.9%) and technology (7.5 %).

Production

Canadian mines produced an estimated 175 tonnes of gold in 2019, which is a 70% increase over gold production in 2010, but an 8.8% decrease compared to 2018. Many Canadian provinces saw the decommissioning of older gold mines in 2019. However, advanced exploration activities are underway, and new gold mines are expected to begin operations in 2020. In 2019, mine production increased in Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Yukon, while production fell in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces. Ontario and Quebec produced more than 75% of the gold mined in Canada in 2019. The following table shows the ranking of each gold producing jurisdiction by their 2019 preliminary production in thousands of grams.

Canadian gold production, by region, 2019 (p)
Ranking Province/Territory 2018A
(grams '000)
2019P
(grams '000)
Oz (troy ‘000) Percentage of total
1 Ontario 84,010 73,733 2,370.6 42.1%
2 Quebec 61,315 59,938 1,927.1 34.3%
3 Nunavut 11,276 14,473 465.3 8.3%
4 British Columbia 21,362 13,791 443.4 7.9%
5 Saskatchewan 2,961 3,616 116.3 2.1%
6 Manitoba 4,742 3,407 109.5 1.9%
7 Nova Scotia 2,929 2,698 86.7 1.5%
8 Yukon 2,506 2,621 84.3 1.5%
9 Newfoundland and Labrador 725 661 21.3 0.4%
10 Alberta 56 38 1.2 0.0%
11 New Brunswick 0 0.0%
Total 191,882 174,976 5,625.7 100.0%

Canadian gold production, 2010–2019 (p)

Text version

This bar graph shows Canada's annual gold mine production from 2010 to 2019. Production was 102.7 tonnes in 2010 and steadily increased towards a peak of 192 tonnes in 2018. Production decreased slightly to 175 tonnes in 2019.

International context

Production from the world’s gold mines reached an estimated 3,300 tonnes in 2019, which is unchanged from 2018.

Find out more about gold production on an international scale:

The top five gold-producing countries accounted for 43.7% of the world's annual gold output in 2019. Canada ranked fifth, with 5.3% of global mined production.

World gold mine production, by country, 2019 (p)
Ranking Country Tonnes Percentage of total
1 China 420 12.7%
2 Australia 330 10.0%
3 Russia 310 9.4%
4 United States 200 6.1%
5 Canada 175 5.3%
6 Indonesia 160 4.8%
- Other countries 1,705 51.7%
World total   3,300 100.0%

World gold mine production, 2010–2019 (p)

Text version

This bar graph shows the world's annual gold mine production from 2010 to 2019. Production was 2,590 tonnes in 2010 followed by a gradual increase to 3,300 tonnes in 2018 and 2019.

World reserves

Mineral ore reserves of gold are 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 50,000 tonnes in 2019.

World reserves of gold, by country, 2019 (p)
Ranking Country Tonnes (thousands)
1 Australia 10.0
2 Russia 5.3
3 South Arica 3.3
4 United States 3.0
5 Indonesia 2.6
6 Brazil 2.4
7 Peru 2.1
8 China 2.0
9 Canada 1.9
- Other countries 22.9
Total   50.0

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 more easily tradable financial assets.

Trade

Exports

  • The value of Canadian gold exports in 2019 was $22.3 billion, a 28.9% increase from the previous year’s total of $17.3 billion.
  • Canada’s exports of unwrought gold increased to 366 tonnes in 2019, up from 303 tonnes in 2018.
  • The value of these exports increased to $20.7 billion in 2019, up from $15.7 billion in 2018.
  • The value of Canadian gold exports in metal ores and concentrates increased to $845.8 million in 2019, up from $806.7 million in 2018.

Imports

  • The value of all forms of gold imports in Canada was $9.6 billion in 2019, up from $7.9 billion in 2018.
  • Canada imported 316 tonnes of unwrought gold in 2019, valued at $7.6 billion. This is an increase compared to 2018  when imports totalled 168 tonnes valued at $6.2 billion.

Prices

Gold prices increased sharply over the last decade from US$1,118 in January 2010 to US$1,772 in September 2011. In 2019, gold prices began at US$1,292 per troy ounce, peaked at US$1,510 per troy ounce in September, and finished the year 15% higher than the start of the year at US$1,480 per troy ounce.

Gold prices, monthly average, 2010–2019

(US$/fineFootnote * troy ounce)

Text version

This line graph shows the monthly average gold price in US dollars from 2010 to 2019. The price was US$1,117.95 per troy ounce in January 2010. It peaked at US$1,771.85 per fine troy ounce in September 2011 and ended 2019 at US$1,480.03 per troy ounce.

Recycling

Gold is continually being recycled, often in the form of old jewellery that is melted down for reuse. A major motivation for consumers to sell or hold on to their gold jewellery is the price of gold in their respective currencies.

When gold prices rise, it usually increases the supply available for scrap (recycled gold) in that country.   The scrap supply of gold increased to 1,296 tonnes in 2019, up from 1,160 tonnes in 2018. Economic instability and currency weakness accounted for a rise in recycling rates in Europe and the Middle East while the stable dollar gold price led to a decline in other markets.

Recovering gold from end-of-life electronics is an additional and major contributor to the global scrap supply of gold.

Notes and sources

(p) preliminary

Totals may be different because of rounding.

All dollars are Canadian unless otherwise indicated.

Uses

  • Gold uses, 2019
    • World Gold Council

Trade

  • Imports and exports of Canadian gold, 2019
    • Natural Resources Canada

Production

  • Canadian gold production, by region, 2019 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada
  • Canadian gold production, 2010 - 2019 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada

International context

  • World gold mine production, by country, 2019 (p)
    • U.S. Geological Surveys
  • World gold mine production, 2008–2019 (p)
    • U.S. Geological Surveys
  • World reserves of gold, by country, 2019 (p)
    • U.S. Geological Surveys

Prices

  • Gold prices, monthly average, 2010 - 2019
    • The London Bullion Market Association (PM Fix)
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