How much above-ground gold (gold that has been mined) is there in all the world?
The best estimate at the end of 2011 is that around 165,000 metric tons (or tonnes) have been mined in all of human history. That’s about 181,881 ordinary tons or 363,762,732 pounds, or 5,820,203,717 ordinary ounces. Gold typically is measured in what are known as troy ounces, which are a little bigger than ordinary ounces (a troy ounce is 31.1034768 grams whereas an ordinary ounce is 28.3495231 grams). There are 32.1507466 troy ounces in a kilogram or 32,150.7466 troy ounces in a metric ton.
“More than half of all humanity’s gold has been extracted in the past 50 years. Now the world’s richest deposits are fast being depleted, and new discoveries are rare. Gone are the hundred-mile-long gold reefs in South Africa or cherry-size nuggets in California. Most of the gold left to mine exists as traces buried in remote and fragile corners of the globe. It’s an invitation to destruction. But there is no shortage of miners, big and small, who are willing to accept.”