Investors tend to buy gold when the economy is uncertain. But it’s unlikely most people know much about the companies that produce gold–or just how volatile, and downright strange the gold market is.
Although many precious metals like silver and platinum have important industrial uses, there are comparatively few for gold. It is most often used as a currency reserve (the U.S. Federal Reserve holds about 6,350 tons). About half of all mined gold today becomes jewelry, and investors flock to it when they want to diversify from general market trends, or protect themselves from unexpected inflation.
These things help explain why the price of gold is always volatile, and has been on a roller coaster over the last decade. In September, it traded at $1,300 an ounce, but hit a high of $1,900 in 2011, which was more than three times its price per ounce in 2007.
Nevertheless, investors aren’t required to actually buy gold in order to invest in this metal. They can buy ETFs that directly track gold, like the SPDR Gold Shares ETF, ETFs that track gold miners like Market Vectors Gold Miner ETFs or even through the Precious Metals ETF offered through Stash, an investment that includes gold along among other metals like Silver and Platinum. (Don’t know what Stash is? Find out more here.)
Here are the largest publicly traded gold mining companies in the world, ranked by annual revenue.
(Gold production data is provided by Mining.com, unless otherwise stipulated.)
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1. Barrick Gold Corp (ABX)
- 2016 Revenue: $8.77 billion
- 2016 Gold production: 5.52 million ounces
Canada-based Barrick produced over 5.5 million ounces of gold last year in their nine mines located throughout Canada, the U.S., Argentina, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Australia. Acacia, a Barrick subsidiary, also operates gold mines in Africa. Although its focus is on gold, the company also mines copper, producing over 415 million pounds last year. The company expects to produce between 5.3 and 5.6 million ounces of gold in 2017.
2. Newmont Mining Corp (NEM)
- 2016 Revenue: $7.11 billion
- 2016 Gold production: 4.9 million ounces
This 90-year-old mining company is headquartered in Colorado and operates mines in the United States, Australia, Peru, Suriname, and Ghana. In 2016, it produced 4.9 million ounces of gold. Newmont also mines silver, copper, lead, zinc, and other metals. At the end of 2016, the company had gold reserves of 68.5 million ounces.
3. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (AU)
- 2016 Revenue: $4.09 billion
- 2016 Gold Production: 3.63 million ounces
Johannesburg-based AngloGold Ashanti focuses primarily on gold, primarily through its mines in South Africa and continental Africa, although it also operates mines in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. It produced 3.63 million ounces in 2016 and had gold reserves of 50.1 million ounces at the end of 2016.
4. Goldcorp Inc. (GG)
- 2016 Revenue: $3.52 billion
- 2016 Gold Production: 2.87 million ounces
Based in Vancouver, Goldcorp mines gold and other precious and base metals from its operations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Central and South America. It recently completed the acquisition of Exeter Resources for $247 million; Exeter’s assets include Caspiche in Chile, which has an estimated 40 million ounces of Measured and Indicated Mineral Reserves. Goldcorp produced about 2.9 million ounces of gold last year.
5. Newcrest Mining Ltd.
- 2016 Revenue: $3.52 billion
- 2016 Production: 2.46 million ounces
Newcrest is headquartered in Sydney and operates a portfolio of mines in Australia, Cote d’Ivoire, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. It produced 2.46 million ounces of gold in 2016 and had 65 million ounces of gold reserves at the end of 2016.
6. Kinross Gold Corp. (KGC)
2016 Revenue: $3.48 billion
2016 Production: 2.79 million ounces
Kinross, based in Toronto, operates nine gold mines primarily in the western U.S., Chile, Brazil, Mauritania, Russia, and Ghana. The company produced about 2.9 million ounces of gold last year and it forecasts it will produce up to 2.7 million ounces in 2017.
7. Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI)
- 2016 Revenue: $2.75 billion
- 2016 Production: 2.15 million ounces
This Johannesburg-based company operates eight mines in Australia, Ghana, Peru, and South Africa, and explores for gold and other precious metals in North and South America, Africa, Eurasia, and Australia. Last year, it produced 2.15 million ounces of gold and held 85.7 million ounces of gold reserves at the end of 2016.
8. Polyus PAO
- 2016 Revenue: $2.70 billion
- 2016 Production: 1.97 million ounces
Moscow-based Polyus operates five mines within Russia. It is one of the largest gold producers in Russia and had over 71 million ounces of gold reserves in 2016. Last year, the company produced just under 2 million ounces.
9. Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM)
- 2016 Revenue: $2.21 billion
- 2016 Production: 1.66 million ounces
Canada’s Agnico Eagle operates eight mines through three segments: Northern Business (Canada and Finland), Southern Business (Mexico), and Exploration (Canada, the U.S., Latin America, Europe). The company produced 1.67 million ounces last year.
10. Sibanye Gold Ltd. (SBGL)
- 2016 Revenue: $2.37 billion
- 2016 Production: 1.51 million ounces
In Addition to gold, South Africa’s Sibanye also mines platinum and uranium. It split off from Gold Fields in 2013, and produced 1.5 million ounces of gold in 2016.