Gold is a rare metal. All extracted and still available gold has a total weight of 165 thousand tons. If the precious metal were melted into a cube, it would measure only 20 meter (65.6ft) into each direction.
The Forbes Global 2000 includes 12 gold companies. The biggest is the US Newmont Mining; six are from Canada, two from South Africa, and one from Australia, Peru and Russia (see table).
One third of gold entering the market comes is from recycled sources (jewelry, industry etc.). The rest comes from gold mines.
In 2010 gold could be found at more than 19,500 places. At present there are more than 400 mines in the world. Gold mining is geographically dispersed. Forty per cent of the annual gold production and mining comes from South Africa, the United States, Australia and Russia. European gold production is insignificant. The world gold production stood in 2010 at 2,500 tons (see chart). This is more than hundred times than in the 19th century. Currently within two years more gold is mined, as in the one thousand years of the Medieval Times. Thanks to advances in technology, it is even feasible extracting gold from stones containing only 1 gram gold per ton.