Companies in this industry develop mine sites, mine and quarry gold and silver, and prepare gold and silver for sale. Major companies include Canada-based Barrick Gold, Kinross Gold, and Goldcorp as well as Newmont Mining (headquartered in the US), AngloGold Ashanti (South Africa), KGHM (Poland), Fresnillo (UK-based with primary operations in Mexico), Glencore (Switzerland), and BHP Billiton (Australia).
Demand is driven by industrial production and economic growth. Individual company profitability depends on volume and operating efficiency. Large companies have more resources to devote to discovering and developing new deposits. Small companies typically own just one mine, limit exploration to that one property, and aim to operate it as efficiently as possible. The global gold and silver mining industry is concentrated: the top 20 companies account for about a third of global production.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products include gold ore (about 95% of US industry revenue) and silver ore (about 5%). Gold and silver are typically sold for financial investment purposes or for fabrication into products like jewelry, silverware, art, coins, medals, dental products, or electronics. Silver is also used in photography.