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World Artisanal Gold Production

How much artisanal gold is produced per year is an interesting and important question. It defines the size of the artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) economy. This is an informal economy that mainly serves the important role of supporting rural development in developing countries - just as it did in western North-America 100 years ago. Typically around 70% of the value of the gold remains with the miners and in-country. However, due to the informal nature of artisanal and small scale gold mining, a good estimate of annual gold production is not possible. The most recent robust estimate may be the one included in Telmer and Veiga (2009) World emissions of mercury from Artisanal and small scale gold mining. In N. Pirrone and R. Mason (eds.), Mercury Fate and Transport in the Global Atmosphere, Springer Science. This is available at Springer Link. The estimate is 330 tonnes of gold per year or 12% of official world production. The estimate considers a variety of types of data f…