Integra Gold Launches $1 Million Challenge to Find Next Gold Discovery
Today Integra Gold launched the world’s largest crowdsourcing challenge related to mining to find the next large gold discovery.
The company recently acquired a treasure trove of data through its acquisition of the Sigma-Lamaque Mine and Milling Facility near its Lamaque South discovery. The six terabytes (6,000 GB) of data spans 75 years and originates from the exploration and production efforts of Teck, Placer Dome, and other companies that worked these historical properties.
The data includes over 30,000 historical drill holes, 500,000 gold assays, and hundreds of kilometres of underground workings.
Overall, both the Sigma and Lamaque mines produced 4.5 million oz of gold each. However, here lies the opportunity that Integra sees: the Sigma Mine was more than 700m shallower than the Lamaque Mine, despite producing the same amount of gold. Could there be more gold underneath?
If gold was discovered in this new contest, then it wouldn’t be the first time for Integra. Just to the south, they discovered a deposit in 2010 that has over 1 million oz (3 g/t cutoff) at a high-grade of 7.1 g/t Au (Indicated). This is part of the reason that they believe in the potential of the overall complex.
Integra hopes to attract the expertise of those in academia, geology, the mining sector and many other disciplines to interpret the data. The company is partnering with HeroX, a company co-founded by the legendary XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis, to produce the competition.
“The Gold Rush Challenge follows in the incredibly successful footsteps of the Goldcorp Challenge and the Ansari XPRIZE competition,” says XPRIZE CEO and HeroX Co-founder, Peter H. Diamandis. “We live in a world of incredible cognitive surplus and your ability to tap into brilliance is now unparalleled. By utilizing the HeroX platform, Integra Gold is paving the way for significant innovation in the mining industry by encouraging collaboration and openness.”
For more about the contest, stay tuned to Integra Gold’s website.
200 Years of Global Gold Production, by Country
Global gold production has grown exponentially since the 1800s, with 86% of all above-ground gold mined in the last 200 years.
Visualizing Global Gold Production Over 200 Years
Although the practice of gold mining has been around for thousands of years, it’s estimated that roughly 86% of all above-ground gold was extracted in the last 200 years.
With modern mining techniques making large-scale production possible, global gold production has grown exponentially since the 1800s.
The above infographic uses data from Our World in Data to visualize global gold production by country from 1820 to 2022, showing how gold mining has evolved to become increasingly global over time.
A Brief History of Gold Mining
The best-known gold rush in modern history occurred in California in 1848, when James Marshall discovered gold in the Sacramento Valley. As word spread, thousands of migrants flocked to California in search of gold, and by 1855, miners had extracted around $2 billion worth of gold.
The United States, Australia, and Russia were (interchangeably) the three largest gold producers until the 1890s. Then, South Africa took the helm thanks to the massive discovery in the Witwatersrand Basin, now regarded today as one of the world’s greatest ever goldfields.
South Africa’s annual gold production peaked in 1970 at 1,002 tonnes—by far the largest amount of gold produced by any country in a year.
With the price of gold rising since the 1980s, global gold production has become increasingly widespread. By 2007, China was the world’s largest gold-producing nation, and today a significant quantity of gold is being mined in over 40 countries.
The Top Gold-Producing Countries in 2022
Around 31% of the world’s gold production in 2022 came from three countries—China, Russia, and Australia, with each producing over 300 tonnes of the precious metal.
|Rank||Country||2022E Gold Production, tonnes||% of Total|
|#5||🇺🇸 United States||170||5%|
|#8||🇿🇦 South Africa||110||4%|
|-||🌍 Rest of the World||1,030||33%|
North American countries Canada, the U.S., and Mexico round out the top six gold producers, collectively making up 16% of the global total. The state of Nevada alone accounted for 72% of U.S. production, hosting the world’s largest gold mining complex (including six mines) owned by Nevada Gold Mines.
Meanwhile, South Africa produced 110 tonnes of gold in 2022, down by 74% relative to its output of 430 tonnes in 2000. This long-term decline is the result of mine closures, maturing assets, and industrial conflict, according to the World Gold Council.
Interestingly, two smaller gold producers on the list, Uzbekistan and Indonesia, host the second and third-largest gold mining operations in the world, respectively.
The Outlook for Global Gold Production
Gold prices have been hovering around the $1,900-$2,000 per ounce near all-time highs. For mining companies, higher gold prices can mean more profits per ounce if costs remain unaffected.
According to the World Gold Council, mined gold production is expected to increase in 2023 and could surpass the record set in 2018 (3,300 tonnes), led by the expansion of existing projects in North America. The chances of record mine output could be higher if gold prices continue to increase.
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