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 $9.6 billion in 2018
  • Ontario and Quebec together accounted for more than 75% of mined gold production in Canada in 2018
  • In 2018, the value of Canadian gold exports was $17.3 billion

Learn more about gold

Uses

The most common use of gold is in jewellery (rings, necklaces, watches, etc.), which accounts for more than half of the global demand. Approximately 7.6% 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, 2018

Text version

This circular chart shows the global demand for gold in 2018. The largest share of gold uses was for jewelry (51.0%), followed by investment (26.5%), central bank net purchases (14.9%), and technology (7.6%).

Production

Canadian mines produced an estimated 183 tonnes of gold in 2018, which represents an 88% increase over production in 2009. In 2018, mine production increased in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Nunavut, and the Atlantic provinces with a new mine coming online in Nova Scotia. Production declined in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon.

In 2018, Ontario and Quebec produced more than 75% of the gold mined in Canada. The following table shows the ranking of each gold producing jurisdiction by their 2018 preliminary production in thousands of grams.

Canadian gold production, by region, 2018 (p)
Ranking Province/Territory 2017A
(grams '000)
2018P
(grams '000)
Oz (troy) Percentage of total
1 Ontario 76,224 77,681 2,498 42.4%
2 Quebec 56,944 61,694 1,984 33.7%
3 British Columbia 13,420 20,135 647 11.0%
4 Nunavut 11,034 11,359 365 6.2%
5 Manitoba 3,962 3,808 122 2.1%
6 Saskatchewan 2,923 2,710 87 1.5%
7 Yukon 2,860 2,500 80 1.4%
8 Nova Scotia   2,392 77 1.3%
9 Newfoundland 629 727 23 0.4%
10 Alberta 22 42 1 0.0%
11 New Brunswick 53 0.0%
  Grand Total 168,072 183,047 5,885 100.0%

Canadian gold production, 2009–2018 (p)

Text version

This bar graph shows Canada's annual gold mine production from 2009 to 2018. Production was 97.2 tonnes in 2009, steadily increasing to 183 tonnes in 2018.

International context

Production from the world’s gold mines reached an estimated  3,332 tonnes in 2018, a year-over-year increase of 2%. Decreased output in China and Africa was offset by increased production in North America and Oceania.

Find out more about gold production on an international scale:

The top five gold-producing countries accounted for 43.2% of the world's annual gold output in 2018.

World gold mine production, by country, 2018 (p)
Ranking Country Tonnes Percentage of total
1 China 400 12.0%
2 Australia 312 9.4%
3 Russia 282 8.4%
4 United States 253 7.6%
5 Canada 193 5.8%
6 Indonesia 190 5.7%
- Other countries 1,703 51.1%
World total   3,332 100.0%

World gold mine production, 2009–2018 (p)

Text version

This bar graph shows the world's annual gold mine production from 2009 to 2018. Production was 2,651 tonnes in 2009 followed by a gradual increase to 3,332 tonnes in 2018.

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 54,100 tonnes in 2018.

World reserves of gold, by country, 2018 (p)
Ranking Country Tonnes (thousands)
1 Australia 9.8
2 South Africa 6.0
3 Russia 5.3
4 United States 3.0
5 Peru 2.6
6 Indonesia 2.5
7 Canada 2.0
- Other countries 22.9
Total   54.1

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

  • In 2018, the value of Canadian gold exports was $17.3 billion, a 7% decrease from the previous year
  • Canada's exports of gold in unwrought form decreased to 304 tonnes in 2018, down from 334  tonnes in 2017
  • The value of these exports decreased to $15.7 billion in 2018, down from $17.0 billion in 2017
  • The value of Canada's exports of gold in metal ores and concentrates increased to $806.7 million in 2018, up from $754.0 million in 2017.

Imports

  • The value of gold imports into Canada was $7.9 billion in 2018
  • Canada imported 168 tonnes of gold in unwrought form in  2018, valued at $6.2 billion. In 2017, Canada imported 234 tonnes of gold, with a value of $7.1 billion

Prices

Gold prices over the last decade saw a steep increase from US$859 in January 2009 to US$1,771.85 per troy ounce in September 2011. The price of gold in 2018 began at US$1,331 per troy ounce, peaked at US$1,335 per troy ounce in April, and finished the year at US$1,247 per troy ounce.

Gold prices, monthly average, 2009–2018

(US$/fineFootnote * troy ounce)

Text version

This line graph shows the monthly average gold price in US dollars from 2009 to 2018. The price was $858.69 per troy ounce in January 2009. It peaked at $1,771.85 per fine troy ounce in September 2011 and ended 2018 at $1,247.92 per troy ounce.

Recycling

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

When the price of gold rises, it usually increases the supply available for scrap (recycled gold) available in that country. In  2018, the scrap supply of gold decreased to 1,178 tonnes, down from 1,210 tonnes in 2017. Economic instability and currency weakness accounted for a rise in recycling rates in Europe and the Middle East, while the stable dollar gold price accounted for the decline in other markets.

End-of-life electronics is a 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, 2018
    • World Gold Council

Production

  • Canadian gold production, by region, 2018 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada
  • Canadian gold production, 2009–2018 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada

International context

  • World gold mine production, by country, 2018 (p)
    • GFMS; Thomson Reuters
  • World gold mine production, 2008–2018 (p)
    • GFMS; Thomson Reuters
  • World reserves of gold, by country, 2018 (p)
    • U.S. Geological Surveys

Prices

  • Gold prices, monthly average, 2009–2018
    • The London Bullion Market Association (PM Fix)