A Rich Mining History
Gold production was first reported being done in Hungary around what is commonly known as the Roman period but this production was not deemed very significant.
Hungary was always just a modest gold producer until the discovery of gold in the Garam region north of Budapest in 1323. Output reached as high as estimated 40,000 – 100,000 troy ounces per year at its peak production times over those years. It was during this time that Hungary accounted for almost 80% of Europe’s gold production, 25% of silver production, and as much as 35% of the world’s total gold supply.
This gold boom ceased around 1380 when the easy to access ore where tapped out of the precious gold.
Much of the mining took place in the northern and eastern mountainous regions of the country. These regions are still thought to hold some very large gold reserves. The Carpathian Mountains are especially rich with gold and silver as well.
The Rudabanya mining district is a rich area, though primarily known for base metals and silver mining.
In the 1700s, mining activity increased dramatically in Hungary, but it was “black gold”, or coal, that was of high interest.
Current Gold Mining Trends
In modern times Hungary ranks among the leaders in several types of minerals that are mined in the country but gold is not among them. As was mentioned before, many mining experts believe there are huge gold reserves located under the ground in the country.
In 2000, as exploration of gold continued in the Recsk region, a find of an estimated 35 million tons of copper ore was found with a high-grade gold content as well.
The cost of retrieving this source of gold, along with the environmental impact associated with a large mine are thought to be much too high to pursue this mining operation at that time.
Currently a company called Carpathian Gold holds exploration licenses for three sites and an additional license for one concession that are located in the Tokaj Mountains; a region in the very northeastern part of Hungary. They also hold one exploration license for an area located in the Matra Mountains in the north central part of the country.
Despite what its name suggests Carpathian Gold is actually a Canadian based company. This company is a major player in gold production in Brazil, and is hoping to experience much of that same success in Hungary.
Like many Eastern European countries, it remains to be seen if Hungary will be a country that is full of gold producing potential or actually becomes a player in the current gold market. This question could be answered in the very near future as major players in the industry continue to look for this precious metal in the country.
Of course, it is not just the gold reserves that exist in the country that impact the production. As with any mining activity, it is the environmental concerns and agreements with the government that will ultimately be the determining factor on how these gold reserves are mined in the near future.
Also Read: Gold Mining in Austria
And: Gold Mining in the Czech Republic
Cost is always a concern as well. The major copper/gold reserves within the country will require high enough costs to sustain the high operating costs that are associated with large-scale mining.
Another concern associated with mining in Hungary concerns the re-opening of ancient mines that are of value to archaeologists. With some mines dating back over 1000 years, the impact of current mining near these historic sites is a risk.
Of course, these ancient mines are often still the richest gold-bearing areas.
The use of cyanide is also banned in Hungary, which affects the type of mining methods that can be used, particularly in processing low-grade gold ores.
Read: How Mercury is Used to Process Gold
When gold price is high the pace of exploration tends to pick up dramatically. This is the case with gold exploration in Hungary too. Experts believe the gold is there, but the future value of the precious metal, along with the ever rising costs of commercial mining may ultimately be the deciding factor on how much mining occurs within Hungary moving forward.
Europe Gold Map