Gold miners have contributed over $55bn to sustainable economic development in 2012, according to a new research report released by the World Gold Council.

The report, which covers 28 countries, analyses data from 15 companies with more than 220,000 employees and contractors.

Of the total amount, $35.2bn went to suppliers and $8.3bn to wages, while an additional $8.4bn was paid to governments in taxes and $3.4bn in payments to providers of capital.

The study also found that over 80% of that total spend, about $44.6bn, was made in the country of operation.

The research accounts for gold production of 804 tonnes, about 30% of mined gold in 2012.

World Gold Council said that 468 tonnes was produced in non-OECD countries, which indicated the importance of the gold mining sector to many developing countries.

The report follows the recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which found that the gold industry generated over $210bn for the global economy in 2012.

World Gold Council managing director of gold for development Terry Heymann said there is already a high level of transparency among responsible miners at an individual company level but until now there has been no systematic attempt to build a comprehensive picture of the economic value created by gold mining companies collectively.

"This work provides deeper insight into the mine production component of the global gold industry value chain," Heymann added.

"Greater transparency can help interested parties better understand the sometimes complex economics of mining and ultimately contribute to better development impacts and outcomes."

Heymann noted that gold, produced in conformance with high safety, environmental and social standards, provides opportunities in the form of jobs, skills, improved infrastructure and tax revenues.

"But maximising the development potential of mining requires continued attention and discussion," Heymann concluded.

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