Combined geological, aggregate mining data, and verifiable historical record show that about 190,000 metric tonnes of gold and some 1.6 million tonnes of silver have been mined physically throughout history.
Of course, there are many times these amounts of supposed silver and gold traded virtually every year on precious metal derivative exchanges found in London, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere. They are mostly buying and selling electronic promises and bets, not the two precious physical things.
What we will examine here is the actual amounts of physical silver and gold which have gotten mined and extracted from the Earth. How much of them remain in .999 fine investment-grade form?
Currently, we humans mine about 8-parts of silver to 1-part of gold ore globally. The gold-silver ratio stands presently near a 30-year high above 90 and likely headed to 100 before returning to its historical mean and medians ahead.
This newly mined precious metal silver and gold ore coming out of the ground then gets further refined to industrial used items, jewelry, silverware, and investment-grade bullion products (bars, coins, and privately minted rounds).
Central banks, for instance, have been buying gold bullion since the 2008 financial crisis. They do this because they too know the history of fiat currencies falling apart.
How Much Gold vs. Silver gets Mined?
Most of the world’s silver ore deposits are spread thinly throughout the Earth's crust, and much is not profitably recoverable at these current silver price points. Consequently, the vast majority of physical silver mine production comes to the market as a byproduct of other mining efforts (e.g., gold, zinc, copper).
Although not highly transparent, there are some reliable data published on total above-ground silver bullion and gold bullion levels. Much can also get deduced by all-time mining data and standard percentages of physical silver and gold formations (industrial vs. jewelry vs. bullion).
By the end of this piece, we will attempt to answer the question:
“How much Silver Bullion and Gold Bullion is there in the world?”
How much Gold is there?
The following chart provided by GoldChartsRUs.com shows the amount of physical gold, which got extracted from 1835 - 2016.
We believe now by this year 2018; there are about 190,000 tonnes of physical gold in the world.
Thus there are just slightly more than 6 billion troy ounces of gold above the ground amongst human beings mostly in jewelry (approximately 50%), followed by .999 fine bullion form (approx. 40%). Governments hold about one half of the investment-grade gold bullion supply around the globe.
With the Chinese government currently underreporting her “Official Gold Reserves” by a likely minimum of some 10,000 tonnes, it is safe to assume that more than 1 in 5 oz of all the physical gold ever mined is currently being saved by governments and their central bank partners today.
All human-made currency proxies eventually fade to a valueless state, while gold bullion never bankrupts nor becomes worthless.
Is summation, there are about 2.5 billion ounces of gold bullion above ground today in the world.
Again more than half of it is currently owned by governments and their central bank partners. Many governments and their central-bank partners, can still buy gold bullion by merely creating their currency out of thin air if they so choose.
How much Silver is there?
The following chart provided by GoldChartsRUs.com shows the amount of physical silver, which has gotten extracted from 1835 - 2016.
Silver is different than gold in the amounts of industrial uses it has (second only to crude oil in real-world product applications). Thus the vast majority of all the physical silver we humans have ever mined has been exhausted through industrial applications, thrown out into landfills unrecovered.
We believe now by 2018, just over 1,600,000 tonnes of physical silver has gotten mined all-time.
Again, in case you didn't know, 1 ton is equal to 32,150.7 troy ounces.
Thus there have been just slightly more than 50 billion troy ounces of silver mined in history. Again, most physical silver mined over time has been lost to industrial use and gone unrecycled.
The following are identifiable above-ground silver bullion stocks presented in the 2018 World Silver Survey (bottom of page 37).
According to their data, there is now 2.78 billion ounces of .999 fine silver bullion currently being held amongst silver vaults, silver ETFs or ETPs (i.e., exchange-traded funds/products), government silver hoards, industrial silver stockpiles.
What this data doesn’t take into account is private silver bullion coin and bar investment offtake and mainly record volumes of .999 silver bullion buying which has taken place since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
Most government silver bullion coin producing programs began in the 1980s.
With available data, it is conservative in estimating that there are about 4 billion ounces of silver bullion in .999 silver bullion form being held by investors throughout the world.
“How much Silver Bullion and Gold Bullion is there in the world?”
By the end of 2018, there was approximately
2.5 billion oz of Gold Bullion and
4 billion oz of Silver Bullion in the world.
In fiat currency terms, both gold and silver bullion valuations are still magnificently dwarfed by total fiat currency supplies and other asset class valuations.
The following updated Exter Pyramid, take into account all the physical gold available above-ground (this includes about one half of which is in gold jewelry at the moment).
At current gold spot prices, there is about fully fiat valued USD 3.3 trillion in gold bullion in the world, while there is just under another full fiat currency valued USD 70 billion in silver bullion held by global investors and governments.
Respectively both these silver and gold bullion valuation sums (especially with silver bullion) are dwarfed by the total valuations for debts, real estate, fiat currencies, and derivatives worldwide.
A bullion buyer years before the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, James Anderson is a grounded precious metals researcher, content creator, and physical investment grade bullion professional. He has authored several Gold & Silver Guides and has been featured on the History Channel, Zero Hedge, Gold-Eagle, Silver Seek, Value Walk and many more. You can pick up Jame's most recent, comprehensive 200+ Page book here at SD Bullion.
Given that repressed commodity values are now near 100-year low level valuations versus large US stocks, James remains convinced investors and savers should buy and maintain a prudent physical bullion position now, before more unfunded promises debase away in the coming decades.