The precious metal's unusual chemical and physical qualities make it a highly desirable material for use in six specific industries, according to the the World Gold Council: electronics, nanotechnology, automotive, space, engineering, and medicine. Some of the uses are fairly mature: dental fillings, for example. Other uses in engineering and nanotechnology are still in their early days.
Of the 118 metric tons used last year industrially, 84 metric tons went to electronics and 11 metric tons to dentistry. Of the remaining 23 metric tons, most of the gold was likely used in electroplating, as the other technology applications use minute amounts and many are not even available commercially.