ASM mine production – bigger than we thought


The upward revision to our estimate for mine production was one of the more eye-catching stories in our Q1 2019 Gold Demand Trends report – the estimate for last year was revised up by 156t (5%), and over 600t has been added to the mine production data series since 2010. This is almost entirely due to new estimates for the volume of artisanal and small-scale gold mine (ASM) production, largely coming from Africa, based on a detailed investigation by Metals Focus, our primary supply and demand data provider.

Last week I took the opportunity to sit down with Charles Cooper, Head of Mine Economics at Metals Focus, to discuss this revision and his outlook for total mine production over the coming years.

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So, in summary, ASM production in has been boosted by higher gold prices, population growth, the lack of economic opportunity in many countries and the spread of mining expertise. And as we look ahead, we believe it is likely that total global mine production (including ASM and large-scale mine production) will continue to increase, supported by expected future growth in Russia and Australia.