From 1900 until 2010, that is 110 years, world gold production has been steadily risen, except for four periods. See chart for historical world gold production numbers:
In the year 1900, in total 386 tons of gold was produced around the world. This is a mere 15% of gold mining in 2010, which was 2500 tons. Nowadays, within two years more gold is produced than in the one thousand years of the Middle Ages.
Responsible for production increases are technological advantages, regarding the construction of mines, and the excavation of gold from soil materials. Today it is worth to mine gold from stones where the content of the precious metal is only 1 gram per 1 ton of soil material. Another factor contributing towards increased gold mining are improved means to locate gold deposits.
A look at the gold chart reveals four drops in gold production: During the two world wars, gold production naturally declined. A third major decline started in 1970 and lasted for five years. Thereafter, gold production stood at a constant level of 1,200 annual tons. For the fourth decline, 2002, 2008, are responsible rising production costs. In combination with low demand for gold, and consequently a low gold price, gold production became not feasible anymore. The decline in world gold production set in when the gold price already started to rise. Mining companies were first reluctant to step up production, as it was not clear whether the greater interest in gold was only a short-term trend. Besides, increasing gold mining needs preparation and time. Thus, an immediate production expansion is not possible.