This is according to new data from Metals Focus, a leading independent precious metals research consultancy, Vladimir Basov writes for Kitco News.
The authors of a report found that by the end of 2020, contained gold in reserves from these operations stood at 24,238t, down 10% from 26,989t in 2016.
This highlights that depletion from mining has outpaced reserve replacement from resource upgrades over the past five years despite the gold price reaching a record high in 2020, Metals Focus said.
This trend contrasts with production from these mines, which increased by 3% over the same period, despite the impact on production last year from Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the consultancy noted that resources (excluding reserves) also fell, dropping by 2% since 2016 to 30,367t.
This demonstrates that successful exploration at these major projects and operating mines has not been sufficient to grow the resource base over the past five years.
However, Metals Focus concluded that despite the declining trend, reserves at these operations are sufficient to support production at current levels for about 11 years, while current resources would support output for an additional 14 years should they eventually be successfully converted into reserves.