– Gold mining production in China fell by 9.8% in H1 2017 

– Decreasing mine supply in world’s largest gold producer and across the globe

– GFMS World Gold Survey predicts mine production to contract year-on-year

– Peak gold production being seen in Australia, world’s no 2 producer

– Peak gold production globally while global gold demand remains robust

Editor Mark O’Byrne

Gold production in the world’s largest gold producer and buyer fell by nearly 10% in the first half of 2017 in what may be another indication of peak gold.

Chinese mine production registered the largest drop globally to total 207 tonnes in the first half of 2017, down 23 tonnes, or 9.8% year-on-year. In the same period last year the country produced 230 metric tons.China mined production of gold (Wikipedia)

The issue of declining gold supply in China is not expected to improve. The GFMS World Gold Survey expects Chinese gold supply to fall by 14% this year from the 2014 peak. Their latest update explains:

Based on limited updated quarterly production reports and annual production guidance, we expect mine production to contract year-on-year in Q3 2017. We expect losses in China to accelerate as capacity is curtailed further. Industry consensus points to a considerable drop in Chinese mine production for the year as a whole.

This fall in supply could have significant implications for global gold supply given the country’s leading role in the gold market. In 2016 the country produced 453t, 160t or 56% more than the second highest gold producing nation of Australia. It also leads global gold demand, beating India in the last five years.

2016 gold demand India and China

These numbers could be an indication that we are reaching peak gold, if we haven’t already. Given the country relies heavily on domestic gold supply – a shortage of gold supply at home will force the country to import more from abroad, putting pressure on global supply with a likely rise in prices. A situation made worse by the fact that many other gold producing nations are also suffering from falling production levels – including world’s no 2 gold producer Australia.

Not just a crack in the China

In the first quarter of the year the ten largest Chinese gold mining companies accounted for 41.4% of the country’s total production. China is very reliant on their domestic gold supply and points to problems further down the line of meeting its high levels of gold demand.

At the beginning of the year China was the only major gold mining nation to have increased production in recent years, now it has joined its contemporaries in seeing falling production. The main reason for the fall in China’s gold supply isn’t on account of falling demand or prices:

The government’s escalating efforts to fight pollution and increase attention to environmental protection. As a result, output from the country’s nonferrous smelters fell by 30% or 14 tonnes in tandem with a 2% drop in ‘mine-produced gold’ to total 65 tonnes.

Declining supply is not a problem unique to China. It is a common problem in gold producing nations. At the beginning of the year GFMS noted that global mine supply in the first quarter of the year reached a total of 756 tonnes, one tonne below the same period in 2016.

The largest drop was in South America and Asia, which slipped by a combined 4% with China, Mongolia, and Peru suffering the top three country-level dec