Stepping into year of 2022, due to the combined impact from the recurring COVID-19 pandemic (the "Pandemic"), the international geopolitical crises and persistent inflationary pressure have hit the global economy hard. To control the Pandemic continuing spreading, the government of Mainland China has implemented a series of preventive measures throughout the year, such as mobility restrictions and quarantines, which led to suspension of gold concentrate production for varying periods, as a result, a decline in our production volume and sale volume. With the gradual easing of the Pandemic and the optimization of the anti-pandemic policies announced by the government of Mainland China, the Group strives to gradually resume to its normal production and expand the exploration and mining activities in 2023.
In addition, in the face of the above challenges, the Group continues to pursue long-term business growth and sustainable profit growth, and successfully extended its gold related business in Mainland China in second half of year 2022, which is sale of physical gold bullion by purchasing gold related materials from other supply chain players, and refining by subcontractors (the "Gold Recycling"). Despite the margin of Gold Recycling is relatively lower, it could broaden our income stream, explore our market share and enhance our reputation in the gold industry in the Mainland China.
The profitability of the Group is highly dependent on the gold price in domestic and international markets. The market prices of gold (and other precious metals) are correlated to the global economic environment and stability. Gold price has held steady despite strong headwinds from rising interest rates and a strong US dollar through most of the year in 2022. According to World Gold Council, 2022 is the strongest year for gold demand in over a decade. It proved that gold still serves its solid role as a safe-haven asset. Looking ahead, inflation continues to fall with the weakness of US dollar, increasing recession risk and geopolitical risk will serve as support points for gold price in 2023. The above factors have stimulated the interest of investors and global central banks in purchasing of gold, and we expect that the demand and price of the gold will likely to rise. The Group will closely monitor the market trends in commodity prices and take necessary actions to control any potential risks.
The Group is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen and to fulfilling its corporate social responsibility while remaining competitive and sustainable in its business development. Environmental sustainability, safety production and supporting local communities would continue to be the priority tasks of the Group. In response to safety production, the Group adhered to provide safe and healthy working environment, and carried out trainings to all workers and employees to enhance their safety management and technical knowledge skills. To ensure environmental sustainability, the Group continues to monitor and review waste and pollution reduction measures at all of the operating plants to comply with the relevant regulations and requirements. To support the local community, the Group continues to participate in various community activities and donate to charities.
To conclude, under the global market uncertainties, the Group would remain vigilant and responsive in a timely manner and strive to achieve stable performance. In addition, the Group will proactively explore other investment opportunities to expand the existing gold mining portfolio, thereby maximizing the value for the shareholders of the Company.