The Worlds Biggest Gold Mines

Posted on 16 April 2021

The South Deep Gold Mine is the largest gold mine in the world, – going by  its gold reserves. Located 45km south-west of Johannesburg in the Witwatersrand Basin, South Africa.
Its also one of the worlds deepest mines – seventh deepest- with a depth of 2,998m below surface. The mining rights comprise a total of 3,566 ha. The mine also has a large resource base of uranium. It has an estimated mine life left of 70 years.
Production since its restructuring plan and employee cuts in 2018 has been irregular, and it has suffered many industrial strikes over low pay and dangerous conditions.
South Deep produced 157,100oz of gold in 2018, compared to 281,300oz in 2017.


The Grasberg Gold Mine in the Papua province of Indonesia was discovered in 1988. The mine produced 2.69 million ounces (Moz) of gold in 2018,  milling 178,100t of ore a day. Its been the largest gold mine in the world and is still the second largest copper mine in the world.
The mine has been the target of violent attacks on the mine itself and its employees, The possible cause of friction range from the obvious value of content, the environmental impact on such special place, the very low share of profits going to locals, and  apparently, the extremely questionable payments made to the security forces guarding the site.

The Olimpiada Gold Mine, located in the Krasnoyarsk region of Eastern Siberia, Russia, was discovered in 1996.
The mine produced 1.3Moz of gold in 2018. It has a mine life expectancy until 2036. Polyus, the owning company, have announced it will power the mine with hydropower in a major step towards emissions reduction . This will see 90% of Polyus’ gold production being powered by renewables, thus reducing its overall emissions by one-third.

The Lihir Gold Mine, located 900km north-east of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, has been in production since 1997. The mines, being in volcanic rock calderas with remnant geothermal activity present, mean such activity and a high water table create a major problem and the water table is lowered by constant borehole pumping. The planned completion of mining here is mid to late 2021.  The mine produced 933,000oz of gold in the financial year ending June 2019.

The Carlin Trend Gold Mine in Nevada, US, began in 1965.  It is part of the Nevada gold Mines Complex – one of the richest gold mining districts in the world, having produced over 84 million ounces of gold since the early 1960s. The Carlin mine complex produced 927,000oz of gold in 2018.

The Boddington Gold Mine located near Boddington, Western Australia ran from 1987 to 2001. It was then reopened in 2009 and has an estimated mine life until 2036. The owners are extending and applying for production til 2052. It was the first mine to run the new autonomous Caterpillar trucks, starting this year. In the 2018 financial year, Boddington Gold Mine produced 709,000 troy ounces of gold and 77 million pounds (35 thousand tonnes) of copper.

The Mponeng Gold Mine located near the town of Carletonville, South Africa, is the deepest gold mine in the world – with a depth of more than 4km below surface.  The trip from the surface to the bottom of the mine takes over an hour. Because temperatures can reach up to 66 °C (151 °F) in the mine at such depths, an ice slurry must be pumped into Mponeng to maintain temperatures that can be withstood by humans. Further gold has been seen much deeper however the cost and danger of such deep mines are under discussion.  It produced 265,000oz of gold in financial year 2018.