Grasberg Mine
Credit: faculty.kutztown.edu

Are you wondering what the largest or biggest gold mine in the world is? There are a number of very large mines in the world, based on total ounces and total production per year. But there is one that trumps all others by a pretty large margin; plus, it also produces a ton of copper. Here I will discuss the largest gold project, plus the largest undeveloped mine that could start production in a few years. 

The largest gold mine currently is known as the Grasberg Mine, owned and operated by Freeport-McMoran. It is located in Indonesia and it also happens to be the third largest copper mine as well. It is expected to produce some 1.25 million ounces of gold in 2013 and 500,000 tonnes of copper, at an operation of 230,000 tonnes per day.

Grasberg doesn’t come without it’s drawbacks, however, as an accident in May killed 28 workers, which was then followed by another fatal accident weeks later, prompting a shutdown of the mine. There have been numerous other incidents over the years. The mine is up and running again, however. 

There have also been a number of worker strikes at Grasberg over the years. Production at Grasberg was actually stopped in July 2011, when a number of miners went on strike for higher wages. 

Current Largest Undeveloped Gold Project

The largest undeveloped mine is probably the Pasqua Lama mine, which is being developed by Barrick Gold. This project is unique because half of it is located in Chile with the other half located in Argentina.

Pasqua Lama has nearly 18 million ounces of gold reserves with an additional 676 million ounces of silver. This is another controversial mine with severe environmental concerns. The company plans first production in 2016, however, the court in Chile has suspended construction on the project so that is really up in the air. 

In conclusion, these are two massive gold deposits – one in production and one in development. While Grasberg is in production, Pasqua Lama is quite a ways away from accomplishing that feat. You can probably tell by now that getting a gold project into production is certainly no easy feat - especially if the mine is the size of Grasberg or Pasqua Lama.