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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

West, J. M.
Gold,   pp. 567-588 PDF (2.2 MB)


Page 567

  567Gold 
ByJ.M. West1 
 Free market gold prices rose sharply in 1972 as a result of monetary uncertainties,
higher world industrial consumption, reduced supplies, and increased speculative
buying of gold. The average price rose about $17 per troy ounce; the price
change from the first of the year to the yearend was nearly $21 per ounce.
On August 2, gold reached a record price, slightly over $70. The official
price increased $3 per ounce to $38, effective May 8, 1972. U.s. official
gold reserves declined 15.6 million ounces during 1972, owing mainly to transactions
with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 
 During 1972, domestic gold production declined to 1.45 million ounces, a
drop of 
3% from 1971 output. About 76% of the newly mined gold came from four producers:
Homestake Mining Co., Kennecott Copper Corp., Carlin Gold Mining Co., and
Cortez Gold Mines. Domestic consumption of gold rose 5% to 7.3 million ounces,
with jewelry and arts accounting for 60% of the total consumed. Net imports
declined 21% and industry stocks rose approximately 1% during the year. 
 World gold production declined in 1972, chiefly because of a continuing
drop in the Republic of South Africa production. The Republic of South Africa
supplied 65% of the world's newly mined production; the 
1 Physical scientist, Division of Nonferrous Metals. 
Table 1.—Salient gold statistics 
1968 
1969 
1970 
1971 
1972 
United States: 
Mine production    thousand troy ounces - 
 Value thousands... 
Ore (dry and siliceous) produced: 
 Gold ore thousand short tOns. - Gold-silver ore do._... 
1,478 
$58,038 
2,780 
199 
1,733 
$71,944 
3,393 
208 
1,743 
$63,439 
3,692 
W 
1,495 
$61,673 
3,472 
166 
1,450 
$84,967 
3,320 
169 
Silver ore do__.... 
655 
655 
673 
574 
344 
Percentage derived from: 
Dry and siliceous ores             Base-metal ores                  
63 
34 
59 
40 
60 
38 
60 
39 
58 
41 
Placers                        
3 
1 
2 
1 
1 
Refinery production ' thousand troy Ounces. - 
Exports2 do..._Imports, general 2 do. - - -Stocks Dec. 31: 
1,539 
23,962 
5,944 
1,717 
338 
5,861 
NA 1,074 
6,652 
NA 
1,339 
7,201 
NA 
1,472 
6,126 
 Monetary3 millions.... 
 Industrial     thousand troy ounces.... Consumptioninindustry andthearts....do_....
Price:4 Average per troy ounce          
World: 
$10,892 
3,617 
6,604 
$39.26 
$11,859 
4,158 
7,109 
$41.51 
$11,072 
3,984 
5,973 
$36.41 
$10,206 
4,375 
6,933 
$41 .25 
$10,487 
4,407 
7,285 
$58.60 
Production thousand troy ounces Official reserves              millions.
- 
46,165 
$40,905 
46,612 
$41,010 
47,522 
$41,275 
46,491 
$44,742 
44,711 
$45,000 
 ' Revised. NA Not available. W Withheld to avoid disclosing individual company
confidential data; included in gold and silver ores. 
1 From domestic ores—U.S. Bureau of the Mint. 
 2 Excludes coinage. 
 2 Includes gold in Exchange Stabilization Fund. 
 U.S. Treasury price through March 15, 1968, and Engelhard selling quotations
March 20, 1968, through 1972. 
 ~Held by free-world central banks and governments. 
 6 based at $38 per troy ounce. 


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