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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-303

Mineral Commodity Profiles -- Gold

Published 2005
Version 1.0
Online only

W.C. Butterman and Earle B. Amey III


Gold has been treasured since ancient times for its beauty and permanence and remains the decorative metal par excellence while retaining a high standing among all commodities as a long-term store of value. Worldwide, about 90 percent of the gold supplied to the market each year goes into manufactured products, and the remainder goes to private investors and to monetary reserves. Of manufactures, jewelry is by far the most important quantitatively and accounts for 85 percent, by weight, of world gold fabricated each year, or more than three-fourths of the gold supplied to the world market for fabrication, investment, and monetary uses. Gold has a long history of use as money or as a reserve backing for other forms of money, but that role is shrinking as gold is gradually being demonetized in the industrial nations. A host of applications that take advantage of gold’s unique physicochemical properties, however, have been developed in the 20th century, thus making gold an industrial metal of great technological importance, especially to the electronics industry.


Open-File Report 02-303 [2.8-MB PDF file]

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For scientific questions or comments concerning this report, contact Michael George.

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