MAPPED: Top 20 biggest gold mines
The iconic Grasberg mine in Indonesia regained the crown as the world’s biggest gold mining operation in terms of output in 2018.
The copper-gold mine in the remote West Papua region delivered as a by-product just shy of 2.7m troy ounces of gold last year – 73% more than in 2017.
That places Grasberg well ahead of long-time number one Muruntau, but it won’t top the rankings again any time soon. Mined since the 1970s by US-based Freeport McMoran, the Grasberg mining complex is transitioning to an underground operation with planned return to full production set for 2022.
Not shown here is the Muruntau mining complex, located in Uzbekistan. It’s operator, state-owned Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat, does not disclose production or other data but estimates put output at around 2.4 million ounces in 2018.
Considering the stunning resource base estimated in excess of 150m ounces, Muruntau will likely regain and keep its ranking as world’s biggest gold mine.
Third largest is the Goldstrike gold mining complex, which includes output from the Cortez mine in Eureka County in north-eastern Nevada which forms part of the newly-created Barrick-Newmont JV in the US state.
The mine consists of both open pit and underground operations. It is located on the Carlin Trend – a prolific gold belt – and since Barrick acquired Goldstrike in 1986 it has produced 42m ounces of gold.
The world’s number four gold mine in terms of output, Olimpiada, is located in one of Russia’s most prolific gold mining provinces. The mine began production in 1996 and currently accounts for over half of Moscow-based Polyus’s total gold output.
Newcrest’s Lihir operation on Aniolam Island in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea rounds out the top 5. The mine is located 900 kilometres north-east of the capital Port Moresby. The gold deposit at Lihir is within the Luise Caldera, an extinct volcanic crater that is geothermally active.
The 2018 ranking uses MINING.com’s sister company Mining Intelligence data and company reports compiled by senior analyst Vladimir Basov.