Mine Ownership

Mine Ownership Models

Mine ownership of precious metals production is categorised into several different dimensions:

  • large scale mining (LSM) or artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)
  • majors, intermediates and juniors
  • primary and secondary producers
  • public, private, and state owned

Refer to the definitions page to understand the various ownership categories.

Production Totals by Ownership Type

Large Scale Mining produces over 80% of gold production. Publicly quoted companies produce roughly 60% of the total. Gold production by “Majors” versus “Intermediate” gold production is roughly the same. Refer to the Data Analysis page to see these figures in terms of their relative percentages.

Artisanal and Small Scale Mining produces less than 20% of total gold production.

Gold split

Production analysis figures on the site are based on the highlighted figures below. These figures can generally be transparently traced back to the originating enterprise.

For the detailed split of majors production broken down by individual enterprise go here.

The numbers do not include royalty companies, who receive an agreed portion of mined production.

Silver split

Majors produce about a third more silver than intermediates.

ASM silver production is almost insignificant (less than 5%) in the context of total silver production.

Large Scale Enterprises

Public Ownership

Public Ownership enterprises can be found on an international stock exchange. International stock exchanges provide more transparency than domestic stock exchanges.

Low Disclosure

Low Disclosure enterprises provide no publicly available information. They might be publicly owned, state owned enterprises or private enterprises. This data is kept separate to ensure that analysis is not tarnished by this data. The low disclosure may be a direct result of nature of the enterprise or the state in which it operates.


There are relatively few private companies which own metals mining operations outright, because of the costs and time frames involved. The largest private companies are based in Russia and Kazakhstan, and are usually associated with particular very high net worth families or individuals.

State Owned

State Owned Enterprises (SOE) include those owned by either national (federal) or state governments. SOEs are normally associated with a specific country or 1st level province within a country.

Artisanal and Small Scale Mining

Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) consist of both artisanal (manual) and small scale mining. Cooperatives are included within this category . Production figures are an estimate based on research done by IGO’s, NGO’s and Geological Surveys.