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What Happens to Gold After We Mine it?

Gold is one of the most well-known metals. It’s instantly recognizable and has held a prominent place in society for almost all of human history.

But what happens after gold mining? Where does it go, and what do we use it for? Read on to find out.

Gold Mining Processes

After the initial gold mining stage, the ore is sent to a refinery. It goes through various stages to turn it from a doré bar into gold bars (or bullion). It’s then sold to different industries once it reaches the highest level of purity.

The history of gold mining may stretch back more than 7,000 years. Of course, it’s difficult to confirm this due to the lack of written evidence, but archeologists found gold products in the Varna Necropolis in Bulgaria, dating back to 4,700BC.

Gold mining really hasn’t changed that much throughout history. Obviously, it’s become far more efficient, resulting in purer bars, but the mining and processing techniques are very similar.

But why is gold so valuable? Compared to other metals, it doesn’t have that many uses. Gold’s main advantage is that it doesn’t tarnish. Along with this, its value is primarily a social thing. It was always seen as a valuable commodity, and that perception has stuck.

Industry Uses After Gold Mining

So, where does gold go after it’s been mined? We can break the answer down into 4 categories: jewelry, technology, investment, and banks. According to Statista, the jewelry industry is by far the biggest consumer of gold, closely followed by investment.

We all know what gold jewelry looks like, and chances are that most of us own some or have bought some. Its tarnish resistance and luster make it sought-after as a precious metal, as does its rarity.

This same rarity is why it’s preferred as a source of investment. Historically, countries held their national wealth in gold (think of America’s Fort Knox), although this isn’t as common nowadays. It works as an investment source because gold will always be valuable, if only for its rarity.

Gold’s use in technology is currently its least common, but is perhaps the most important. Your smartphone, tablet and computer all contain gold, as do many other devices.

It’s a highly conductive metal, meaning it can send fast and accurate signals consistently. You might also see it on the end of HDMI and speaker cables for this same reason. Gold’s resistance to corrosion is another reason why it’s so useful in technology.

But, this is also the biggest waste of gold. Every year, around 45 million tons of electronic waste is thrown away, much of which contains gold. The result is a massive loss of this precious (and rare) metal.


So, that’s what happens after the gold mining process. Although it has fewer uses than many other metals, much of gold’s value comes from its social perception.

But, if you’re looking for a secure financial investment, pure gold or gold mining are both lucrative sources.


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