Gold is a bright yellow metal with an attractive appearance.
It is dense, soft and shinny and is considered to be very precious. The metal is extracted from its underground natural sources and is normally used in the production of jewelry and other arts. This paper seeks to discuss the metal, gold. The paper will give an overview of the commodity, a history of its production, and reasons for its popularity as well as problems that are associated with the commodity.
The history of gold is traceable to as early as 4000 B.C. During this period of time, gold had been discovered in some parts of Europe and was majorly being used for decorative purposes. The use of the metal was then refined to majorly concentrate in jewelry as time went by.
Usage of the metal also spread across the world with countries in the middle east such as Iraq and some parts of Africa such as Egypt recording application of the metal in the jewelry industry by 2500 B.C. Gold was then adopted as a form of currency in Egypt which later spread to other Arab countries especially in the middle east. The identity of the metal then further spread to other parts of the world with its usage being diversified to modifications of other metals that were used in arts. Gold was for example mixed into other metals to make the metals harder or to improve the appearance of the metals which could then be used for decorative purposes.
A lot of developments have since been realized in relation to the extraction, trade and usage of gold with regulations and bodies being set up in the different processes that involve the metal. In the United States for instance, there exists an association for gold miners and regulatory bodies for the same. Such developments also included the establishment of a global body in the year 1987 to facilitate international market for the commodity. Apart from its value for which it is used in jewelry and other expensive decorations, gold has also been significantly used in astronomy for making special mirrors used is studying the space. Such have facilitated the astronomers’ refined view of the planets such as “Neptune and Uranus” (National, n.d.
, p. 9).
Production of gold
Though the level of production of gold can not be singularly attributed to its increasingly diversified uses, the trend in production of gold has been increasing over time. Data as revealed by the United States geological department in consideration of global productivity of gold revealed a general increasing trend according to data collected from the year 1951 up to the year 2009. According to the data, a quantity of eight hundred and eighty six metric tonnes of the commodity was realized globally in 1951.
This figure has however arisen to record about two thousand four hundred and fifty metric tonnes in the year 2009. According to the data, the global productivity of the commodity has grown by about three hundred per cent in a half a century. Since the data reveals almost a generally increasing trend, one that is not characterized with seasonal rise and fall in quantity of production, it can be projected with a lot of significance that the level of production of gold will continue to increase with time. Though a decrease in trend of gold productivity was realized from the year two thousand up to the year 2008, the trend picked up again in the year two thousand and nine and can be expected to rise again in line with its previous trend.
This is because the different trend as realized was over a short period of time compared to the time frame of the data. It can therefore be disregarded as an anomaly in the trend. It is however clear that the global production of gold has been increasing in general terms since the year 1951 and this trend can be used to predict future trends as well as the trend prior to 1951 (Porter & Amey, 2010). Even though the global production of gold has been on its continuous increase, it has not been sufficient enough to adequately meet the market demand. This could explain why gold is a rare commodity. Its production has either been less than its demand or just barely enough to meet the demand. It is for instance reported that though the global supply of the commodity was slightly more than its demand in the year 2010, most of the gold was obtained from recycling rather that primary production (Ksanalysis, n.
Uses of gold
Gold is popular as a precious commodity because of its uses in the society.
One of the uses of the commodity in a number of societies is its adoption as a means of exchange. There are a number of countries where gold is being used in place of money or even as a “store of value” (Responsible, n.d.). This is particularly practiced in developed countries where inflation is a common occurrence and domestic currencies are considered to be relatively weak. People then resort to used gold for their transactions and wealth saving.
This has therefore made the commodity in these regions which majorly include “Asia, the middle east and the Indian subcontinent” (Responsible, n.d., p. 1) to be popular. Another use of the commodity is in the production of jewelry which is marketable at attractive prices.
The metal is also well popular due to its “intrinsic beauty, warmth, sensuality and spiritual richness” (Responsible, n.d., p. 1). The commodity has in addition earned its worth and popularity due to its applications in fields such as medical, environmental and technological (Responsible, n.d.).
Problems associated with production and trading of gold
The production of gold and its subsequent trade has always posed the problem of regulation by authorities due to cases of smuggling and illegal trade.
Tsuma (2010) illustrated that the problem of regulation is extensive in the whole mining industry. The problem becomes more significant in small scale operations (Tsuma, 2010). Depletion of the mineral element is another problem that has been identified in the industry. The increasing production of gold is a threat to the existence of the metal (World Bank, 2005). Mining of the commodity also poses environmental threats as realized in cases such as “digging up of river channels, banks and their flood plains as well as surface trenching” (Luginaah & Yanful, 2009, p. 89). These issues can however be controlled through increased control of mining activities by territorial authorities (Luginaah & Yanful, 2009, p.
The production and use of gold has been practiced for about 6000 years. Though the metal has great benefits its processes are associated with negative impacts that can only be controlled by increased regulations by authorities.
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