The World’s 10 Most Prolific Gold Fields – by Paul Carter (CMI Gold & Silver, Inc.)

CMI Gold & Silver Inc. is one of the oldest gold and silver dealers in the United States and has played a major role in introducing investors to the gold and silver markets.

Please note that this article has errored by including “Dawson City, Yukon, Canada” (Klondike Gold Rush) on the list. The Klondike’s short-lived, decade-long goldrush only produced 12.5 million ounces of the precious metal. By comparison, the Porcupine Camp (Timmins, Ontario), discovered in 1909 and still in production, has produced 72-million ounces, once again booming Kirkland Lake, originally discovered in 1911, has produced 38-million ounces to date and Red Lake, originally found in 1925, has produced 26-million ounces up to 2006, and is currently experiencing another boom. Link here for: Battle of the Canadian Gold Rushes: Klondike Versus Northern Ontario. – Stan Sudol/

The World’s 10 Most Prolific Gold Fields

Gold has long been one of mankind’s most prized possessions. Yet most people have little idea where gold comes from, other than from “gold mines.”

Mining gold today often becomes monumental undertakings, truly some of man’s greatest engineering feats. Imagine gold mining shafts nearly two and a half miles below the surface and it taking two hours for miners to get to their work stations. Imagine a pit so large that it can be seen from outer space.

No reason to imagine, those are the realities in the mining of gold revealed in “The World’s 10 Most Prolific Gold Fields.”

1. Witwatersrand Basin (Johannesburg, South Africa)

The head frame of the Tau Tona Mine is the lone entrance to over 500 miles of tunnels.

Located in South Africa, the Witwatersrand Basin represents the richest gold field ever discovered. It is estimated the 40% of all of the gold ever mined has come out of the Basin. In 1970, South Africa’s output accounted for 79% of the world’s gold production. By 2009, South Africa’s share of world gold production had dropped to less than 8%.

Mining in the Witwatersrand Basin is accomplished by creating deep underground tunnels that are necessary to reach the plentiful reserves. The Tau Tona Mine features the deepest tunnel in the world extending a full 2.4 miles below the earth’s surface. A massive ventilation and air conditioning system is required to overcome the extreme working conditions throughout the over 500 miles of tunnels. At its deepest levels, the air temperature reaches 131 F and the rock face itself 140 F. The mine is so extensive that it takes workers a full two hours to travel from the surface to the deepest sections of the mine where they must then contend with pockets of lethal gas, water and a continual barrage of small earthquakes.

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For Barrick, a golden opportunity to expand [into copper] – by Brenda Bouw and David Ebner (Globe and Mail – April 30, 2011)

 The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media. Brenda Bouw is the Globe’s mining reporter.

“When you are not prepared to look at new things because you are struck in your own
success because the commodity is going up, that is when danger occurs. … Isn’t that what
business is all about, to take advantage of opportunities when they arise? … I am not an
employee. It’s my legacy, it’s my life. I live this company.” 
(Peter Munk – Chairman Barrick Gold Corporation)

Peter Munk has heard the howls of protest from Bay Street before.

The founder and chairman of Barrick Gold Corp. was lambasted in 1994 when he paid $1.7-billion (U.S.) for gold miner Lac Minerals to expand outside of North America, and then again in 2006 when he took out rival gold producer Placer Dome for $10-billion, picking up 12 new mines to secure the company’s position as the world’s largest gold producer.

But the cries were particularly shrill this week after Barrick surprised the mining industry with a $7.3-billion (Canadian) bid for Equinox Minerals Ltd., a copper producer with operations in Africa and Saudi Arabia. Even as gold prices hit new highs this week, Barrick shares dropped 9 per cent since the deal was announced Monday.

Investors quickly voiced a number of concerns about the deal, from the rich premium paid, to increased political risk. But their biggest beef centres around the shift in strategy. Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer, is betting a bundle on a different class of metal: copper.

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