The United States is the world’s fourth-largest gold producer, behind China, Australia, and Russia. Its 2019 production exceeded 200 tons, spread across a dozen states. However, the majority of production comes from just five states: Nevada, Alaska, Colorado, California, and Arizona.
As they explain from NS Energy, the United States has been mining gold from the earth since 1799, when the first discovery occurred in North Carolina. Since then, the activity has spread to other states.
According to the latest data published by the United States Geological Service (USGS), production exceeded 201 tons in 2019. More than 152 tons come from the Nevada mines, while those in Alaska contributed 17.1 tons.
The remaining 31.5 tons were distributed among a dozen states: Colorado, California, Arizona, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.
The latest figures published by the USGS correspond to February 2020: the accumulated total in the first two months of the year is 33.5 tons, 25.2 tons come from Nevada, 2.9 tons from Alaska, and 5.4 tons from the other ten states.
Here are the top five states, in terms of gold production:
Nevada produces the most gold in the US, coming from its vast open-pit mines. With its production volume, the state would be the fifth-largest producer in the world, surpassing countries with a long tradition in gold mining, such as South Africa.
Most of Alaska’s gold production comes from the Juneau, Nome, and Fairbanks regions. This state produced 46.7 million ounces of gold (1,452.5 tons).
At its peak of production, around 1900, Colorado produced around 1.4 million ounces (43.5 Mt) of gold. However, since that year, production was declining, due to the exhaustion of many fields.
California was one of the first places where Spanish colonists discovered gold, between 1775 and 1780, along the Colorado River, in the Potholes district.
But the best-known discovery took place in 1848, which gave rise to the so-called ‘California gold rush.’
The state’s gold production reached 3.9 million ounces (121 Tm) in 1852. The discovery of new deposits at Jamestown raised output to 5.9 million ounces (183 tons) in 1853.
However, despite discoveries, production began to decline, and by 1865 it was just 867,000 ounces (27 tons).
In 2018, the state produced 140,000 ounces (4.35 mt).