Friday, 26 April 2013

All The Gold In The World

When I was a kid I thought that all the gold in the world was a mountain in the vaults under the Bank of England, and then later after watching the James Bond movie 'Gold Finger', in the Vaults in Fort Knox.

Gold Finger Was A Big Gold Investor

However, I had never thought about how much gold was really in the world .... well others have and surprisingly there are many guesses as to the amount mined to-date. Of course gold has been mined for millennia, maybe for over 6,000 years, with the earliest known gold coins produced about 550 BC under King Croesus of Lydia (in Asia Minor), so that's a lot of gold. Of course gold is virtually indestructible so almost all that gold is still about. That means that if you have a gold ring, some of the gold in that ring could well have been mined by the Romans 2,000 years ago, or been part of a Pharaohs throne.

However the use of gold in electronic devices such as mobile phones means that for the first time ever gold is disappearing from the above ground stock because 12% of current world gold production where it is used in such small quantities in each individual product, that it may no longer be economical to recycle it and it ends up in landfills.

Investment advisers Thomson Reuters GFMS, produce an annual gold survey which suggests that the amount is 171,300 tonnes - which is approximately 20.7m (68ft) on each side, and would reach to 9.8m above ground level.

However other estimates range from 155,244 tonnes, to the Gold Standard Institutes estimate of 2.5 million tonnes (approx about 16 times the smallest amount) and the largest estimate would fit in a cube with sides 50m (166ft) long - or a column of gold towering 143m above Wimbledon centre court.

Of course all the figures could be over or underestimates, for example in Tutankhamen's tomb the coffin was made from 1.5 tonnes of gold, so when you consider all the looted tombs for greater Pharaohs, there could have been hundreds of tonnes of gold in Egypt alone in ancient times .....

Gold Has Many Uses .....

... well last word to that modern Midas, Warren Buffett, who has said that all the gold ever mined could fit into a cube with sides of just 20m (67ft) - he obviously takes the pragmatic line.

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