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Cost of gold the year you were born

  • 2000: Denver breaks U.S. Mint record

    - Average close price: $279.11 (+0.1% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $417.29 (-3.2%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 353 metric tons (13.6% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 40 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: 324 metric tons (547 tons exported and 223 tons imported)

    In the first year of the new millennium, the Denver Mint produced 15.4 billion coins. No single facility had ever reached that level of production in the history of the U.S. Mint.

  • 2001: Great Mongolian gold rush

    - Average close price: $271.04 (-2.9% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $394.01 (-5.6%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 335 metric tons (12.9% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 41 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: 296 metric tons (489 tons exported and 193 tons imported)

    The beginning of the 21st century triggered one of the last great gold rushes, this time in an inhospitable expanse of Mongolia in 2001. By 2003, tens of thousands of Mongolians—not to mention countless foreigners—scrambled to get their share of the estimated 14 million ounces of gold believed to lie in the new, untapped veins discovered there.

  • 2002: Homestake Mine closes

    - Average close price: $309.73 (+14.3% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $443.25 (+12.5%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 298 metric tons (11.7% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 38 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: 40 metric tons (257 tons exported and 217 tons imported)

    2002 signaled the end of an era for American gold mining when South Dakota’s Homestake Mine closed down. Homestake had long been the deepest and largest gold mine in North America, producing over 40 million ounces of gold and employing 2,200 people at its peak.

  • 2003: War drums send gold soaring

    - Average close price: $363.28 (+17.3% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $508.30 (+14.7%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 277 metric tons (10.9% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 44 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: 103 metric tons (352 tons exported and 249 tons imported)

    The runup to the Iraq War created global instability that worried investors and made banks eager to own physical wealth they store in vaults. In February, gold reached a four-and-a-half-year high. By the end of the year, safe-haven buying sent the price above $400 an ounce, the highest trading prices seen since 1988.

  • 2004: The rise of the gold ETF

    - Average close price: $409.72 (+12.8% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $558.41 (+9.9%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 258 metric tons (10.7% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 45 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: -26 metric tons (257 tons exported and 283 tons imported)

    In 2003, the first gold-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) allowed common investors to purchase stakes in gold for comparatively minuscule amounts of money without having to authenticate, buy, possess, store, and safeguard heavy pieces of metal. Since ETFs can be traded on exchanges like stocks and bonds, they’re liquid assets that can be converted to cash with a few keyboard clicks. By 2004, gold ETFs had gone mainstream and just 10 years later their managers would oversee a combined $146.6 billion in assets.

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  • 2005: Gold rises as war drags on

    - Average close price: $444.74 (+8.5% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $586.27 (+5.0%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 256 metric tons (10.4% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 40 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: -17 metric tons (324 tons exported and 341 tons imported)

    By 2005, it was clear that the Iraq War would not be quick, easy, or inexpensive, as promised by the leaders who approved it. That year, spot gold breached $500 for the first time since 1987. Three years later, that would seem like child’s play.

  • 2006: Denver Mint celebrates centennial

    - Average close price: $603.46 (+35.7% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $770.64 (+31.4%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 252 metric tons (10.6% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 44 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: 126 metric tons (389 tons exported and 263 tons imported)

    On Feb. 1, 2006, the Denver Mint celebrated 100 years of coin production, making it America’s oldest continuously operating U.S. Mint facility. The Denver Mint is home to the #3 largest gold reserves in America, behind only Fort Knox and West Point.

  • 2007: E-waste mining arrives

    - Average close price: $695.39 (+15.2% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $863.45 (+12.0%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 238 metric tons (10.1% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 66 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: 349 metric tons (519 tons exported and 170 tons imported)

    In 2007, the iPhone ushered in the smartphone era, and the mountains of e-waste that had already piled up would grow ever larger. Much of that waste contained gold. There is 80 times more gold in a ton of cell phones than there is in a gold mine, which spawned a new trade filled with people dedicated to finding and extracting gold from the world’s throwaway electronics. E-waste mining was born.

  • 2008: Records broken

    - Average close price: $871.96 (+25.4% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $1,042.66 (+20.8%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 233 metric tons (10.1% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 181 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: 337 metric tons (568 tons exported and 231 tons imported)

    The onset of the 2008 recession sent gold prices soaring, with spot gold breaking the $850 mark, then hitting an all-time high of $1,030.80 per ounce. That same year, benchmark gold contracts traded above $1,000 on the U.S. futures market for the first time in history.

  • 2009: Gold goes green

    - Average close price: $972.35 (+11.5% compared to previous year)
    --- Inflation adjusted: $1,166.85 (+11.9%)
    - U.S. primary gold production: 223 metric tons (9.0% of world total)
    - U.S. secondary gold production: 189 metric tons
    - U.S. gold net exports: 61 metric tons (381 tons exported and 320 tons imported)

    In 2009, the Canadian government launched the Green Mining Initiative, which mandated changes in how companies and people could explore for and extract gold. Its four stated goals were footprint reduction, innovation in mine-waste management, mine closure and rehabilitation, and ecosystem risk management.

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