Wednesday, 31 December 2008


I read today in the excellent National Geographic magazine that the total amount of gold mined during the entire history of the earth is only enough to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools!

That's a figure that shocks me.

From the time of the ancient Egyptians (and before that probably) through to the North American gold rush through to today's massive global commercial operations - and all they've ever got between them is two swimming pools worth!

I'd say 'give it up lads', after all what is gold good for? Trashy bling jewelery.

Waste of time.


James Higham said...

Now that's more than interesting.

Have a happy new year.

Lord Nazh said...

I'd have to say the NG story has some very shaky stats to back that up.

Consider how much gold ore has to be mined to make a brick; how many bricks are in Fort Knox alone: then extrapolate that to the old world and history.

These pools must be really really big

JPT said...

Lord Nazh -
It does seem a bit odd but a little research on the internet reveals the following: on the website it is estimated that all the gold ever produced, if put together would only produce about one third of the Washington Monument.
Someone on Yahoo Answers claims that the total volume is about the size of a two storey house and a general figure from various websites is that the total mined gold in weight is about 160,000 tons - and considering how dense gold is that's not a hell of a lot!
According to a ton of gold in SIZE is one foot three wide, long, and deep - so not very big!

Anonymous said...

To be fair Gold is a very important element, every civilization has coveted it since the begining of time.

But now it has a new purpose, it is vital in the production of modern electronics and super conductors.

That moron gordon brown sold all our reserves a few years back. The price of gold will increase, and gold will have to be recycled, so get ready to part company with your jewelry...


Sounds a tad unrealistic. Think of the Incas.
They used tons of gold in their temples and even if their everyday lives it was so plentiful.

JPT said...

Darwen - I know it sounds unrealistic but every bit of research I do backs it up!

Jeannine said...

It does seem like a small amount. I do realize that most gold is mixed with alloys since it's such a soft metal, and lots of things are plated gold rather than solid.

Arthur just looked up gold mining in South Africa and found the following:

South Africa produced 15% of the world’s gold in 2002.

United States Geological Survey, 2002 Mineral Industry Report.

In the single year 2000, South Africa produced 428 tonnes of gold.

Mbendi Africa Gold Mining Review.

South Africa holds 35% of the world’s global gold resources (ibid).

As much as I've admired National Geographic over the years, I will say they come up with clunkers at times. One issue I read several years ago said that if everyone only had one child, world peace would ensue, disease would be eradicated, etc. What madness is that? Another article mentioned that life on earth originated with space aliens.