The United States mines and refines vast quantities of precious metals. However, there is not as much of a monopoly as during the days of the Gold Rush, and output appears in decline.
The days when California and other western states ruled the precious metal industry are long gone, and it seems that your friendly neighbors to the north have taken over, especially in gold.
Of the biggest gold mining companies in the world, there is only one US company on the list, Newmont Mining. Ranking third, it has a capitalization of about $16 billion, producing over 114 tons in 2013. The two companies ahead of it are both Canadian, with Goldcorp leading the way. They produced less than Newmont in 2013, but have a much greater capitalization.
There are three other Canadian companies on the list, and even South Africa has more names on it than the USA.
It is not all bad news though, as the United States still plays a huge role in the production and movement of both gold and silver. It has a firm grip on the import and export of these two metals and, in New York, it also sets their prices.
When we look at the countries whose mines produce the most gold, the USA is third, with Australia first. Their average annual output is over 60 tons of gold and over 250 tons of silver. These figures are down from previous years, but there are other mining operations that make up for this, with the United States mining more than $1 billion in other metals.
So, which states produce the most precious metals? Well, perhaps surprisingly, Nevada leads the way in gold. It is said that for every 100 tons mined in the country, 80 tons were dug out of Nevada soil. Most of this comes from open-pit operations such as the Jerritt Canyon mine. This is where Newmont Mining does most of its business.
Other major gold-mining states include Oregon, Texas and Arizona, the latter of which has mined 16 million troy ounces throughout the state’s history. In Utah, they get some gold out of the Bingham Canyon mine, where copper is the main focus and gold is just a welcome by-product. California continues to reward its miners with gold as well.
As far as silver is concerned, a lot of it is a result of gold production, which means that this precious metal is a by-product of gold mines. This is the case in states such as California and Arizona, the latter of which produces vast quantities of this precious metal, more so than many other states, with most of it a by-product of copper mines.
Throughout the first decade of the 21st Century, the biggest silver mining state was Alaska, and large quantities of this metal have also been discovered from Idaho and Nevada to Montana, which is known as the second-best place to mine silver in the nation.