Precious Metals

China forging path to economic growth with gold

China is expanding its world dominance as the leader in gold production.

Map image courtesy of World Atlas; Chinese gold bars courtesy of

While China’s gold mining industry is one of the largest in the world, a key Chinese official believes the country’s position could become even more dominant.

Zhang Yongtao, vice chairman and secretary general of the China Gold Association, suggests more dominance can be achieved by increased expansion globally in addition to exploiting mining opportunities at home.

The association reports that by the end of calendar year 2017, China had identified gold resources and reserves of 13,195.6 metric tonnes.

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In 2007, China supplanted South Africa as the world’s largest gold producer and has maintained that ranking for 11 consecutive years. China produced 426.14 metric tonnes of gold in 2017, or just over 13 percent of the global market supply.

Almost 400 gold mining companies manage exploration and production activities in 3,389 gold mining areas across China alone.

Of the nearly 400 mining concerns, the top 13 combined produce 59.77 precent and 41.04 percent, respectively, of the nation’s finished gold and mined gold output.

The top four concerns — China National Gold Group (“China Gold”), Shandong Gold, Zijin Mining Group and Shandong Zhaojin Group — are particularly dominant, according to the China Gold Association.

According to Zhang Yongtao, “Gold mines are concentrated in the east of the country; most are small to medium sized and grades are comparatively high. Technological breakthroughs have also paved the way for deep prospecting, delivering further increases in reserves. Today, new gold reserves in the Jiaodong area of Shandong province amount to 1,840 metric tonnes, while identified gold reserves total nearly 4,000 metric tonnes.”

Zhang Yongtao reports through the World Gold Council that Chinese concerns have increased their importation of raw materials and expanded their presence beyond China. 

In 2017, according to Zhang Yongtao, “China imported gold raw materials of 854,150 metric tonnes, with a value of $1.7 billion US, including the purchase of precious metal ore sands and concentrates from 55 regions and countries — 19 of these countries are within the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative area.”

“Overseas investment has been building steadily as well,” he continued. “Chinese gold companies have made international investments of nearly $4 billion US since 2011, boosting their gold reserves by more than 800 metric tonnes. Looking ahead, more such investments are expected. A quick glance across the industry highlights this trend.”

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