This source shows that the amount of gold in the world would not even fill the Washington Monument. How much is that at today’s price? Is that literally “all the gold in the world”?
My calculations come up with just under $6 trillion, and I’m doing lots of rounding.
All the gold in the world is obviously more than all the gold that’s ever been mined. There’s plenty of gold that’s never been mined and a lot of it probably never will be. Nobody will ever extract all the gold that’s dissolved in the ocean or separate out all the microscopic particles mixed into the dirt around us or dig up the gold that’s hundreds of miles under the surface.
That’s about what I get, too. Specifically, we have about 3.8*10^9 troy ounces - for anybody else doing the calculation, remember to convert to troy ounces, not avoirdupois - approx 14.6 troy oz / lb.
I’ve read similar, that all the gold that’s ever been mined is not a very large total at all.
This Wiki article gives some figures based on the peak price:
If these [seemingly ridiculous] plans to mine asteroids for resources ever pan out, will the introduction of so much more gold into the market tank the price of gold?
By a wild guess that I’m totally pulling out of my ass, I don’t see how they can expect to successfully mine much more than, say, a few hundred kilograms of gold each mission (if that).
The money in asteroid mining isn’t in gold, it’s in the other stuff - rare earths and the like. But what will really pay off is having all that iron and aluminum already in orbit, ready to be smelted and formed into structural material.
It has been estimated that all the gold mined by the end of 2009 totaled 165,000 tonnes. At a price of US$1900 per troy ounce, reached in September 2011, one tonne of gold has a value of approximately US$61.1 million. The total value of all gold ever mined would exceed US$10.1 trillion at that valuation.
Is it just me, or does that NOT seem to be such a huge value? Don’t get me wrong, I certainly wouldn’t kick it out of bed, but for something that has ruled mankind’s entire existence, that amount seems almost trivial–try putting 15 more zeroes after that $10.1 trillion. NOW you’re talkin’.
Totally subjective, meaningless thought.
At the Museum of Natural History in New York, they have a film about gold narrated by George Plimpton. In it, they visualised it as a cube that would fit comfortably on a football field.
Perhaps it doesn’t seem like all that much, because a lot of the gold owned and used over the centuries has been melted down and reused elsewhere. So the tomb of an early Egyptian pharaoh might have been discovered, looted of its gold and had the gold reused for later pharaohs or later conquerors. Even the gold in the crowns of the UK royal family came from earlier crowns.
There’s actually a lot more gold in the world.(Literally)
interesting article and truly strange to think that its more economically feasible to mine the asteroids millions of kms away than it is to try and extract minerals from the earths core.
is there any feasible technology that could enable us to bring back minerals from thousands of kms underground?
I just watched a PBS special called Hunting the elements and it said that all the gold would fit in a cube 60 feet on the side. That comes out to around 118,000 metric tons of gold or about 6 trillion dollars as you say.
webelements gives the abundance of gold in the Earth’s crust as 3.1 parts per billion by weight. Whatever figure you use for the weight of the Earth’s crustal rocks, that’s going to be much, much more than the little bit which has been extracted. Most of that will also be native gold, as naturally occurring gold compounds are rare.
2000 kilometers would be more than half way through the mantle, at temperatures ranging from 900C to over 4000C, so I would think that is not possible without some kind of matter transporter, a la Star Trek.
It doesn’t make much sense to go to the asteroids for iron and aluminum. They are both common on the lunar surface and cheap to put in Earth Orbit with a linear accelerator.
It would be nice if we could find some asteroids rich in Uranium or Thorium for power plants that they could use during the lunar night. It is probably cheaper to use solar power during the day.
You are right. That is why the thought of converting the current world economy to a gold standard is so a a absurd. I guess gold would have to go up to $100K/oz to support the economy. Then the ring on my finger would be really tempting for thieves, not to mention the gold in mouth. No thanks.
I don’t think you grasp how big 10 trillion with 15 more zeroes after it is. Fifteen zeroes is a quadrillion so you’re talking about 10 quadrillion trillion dollars. Or to put it another way you want the gold production of a quadrillion Earths. Since there are about 100 billion stars in the galaxy, if each had an earth we could mine you’d need ten thousand galaxies.
Nobody, certainly not me, mentioned gold production–we were discussing value which is a completely arbitrary concept. Since the last figure I heard for the United States Federal budget was +/- $5 trillion, the value of all the gold that’s ever been mined only being twice that amount seemed a pretty trivial value to me (and apparently Hari Seldon, too).
I wasn’t going to bring this up, but I feel my hand has been forced: Dewey Finn mentioned that some gold over the centuries had been looted and re-used. Good point. But, somebody paid for that gold each time it was purchased for use (forgive the grammar/usage). If chunk of gold A was bought in Mesopotamia 4000 years ago for X drachma, then COG A was bought in Egypt 2000 years later for Bubba-hotep’s burial mask for Y scheckels, THEN COG A was bought in Spain in A.D. 1515 for Queen Weema the Moist’s bridal brooch for Z pesetas, then, in my mind, the value of that gold is X+Y+Z. Economists will now begin degrading that logic–Have at it!
And don’t think Warren Buffet isn’t slathering over the thought of 10,000 galaxies of gold-filled Earths.
I have a dog to feed!