World

Million Dollar Worth Of Gold Flushes Through Swiss Sewers Every Year

Million Dollar Worth Of Gold Flushes Through Swiss Sewers Every Year

On average, about 70 percent of the world's gold passes through Swiss refineries.

The scientists also found $1.7 million worth of silver (or 3,000 kilograms) flowing through wastewater every year, most of which comes from chemical and medical plants.




Moreover, the same research team discovered that in this particular area where most manufacturers established their headquarters and shops, the amount of gold was so significant, they could collect it. The gold is lost through sludge and effluent from the country's waste treatment plants according to a report by scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. In some sites in the southern Ticino region, "concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile", the researchers said in a report published on Tuesday. Overall, however, according to the researchers, the recovery of metals from wastewater or sludge is scarcely worthwhile at present, either financially or in terms of the amounts which could be extracted.

Other rare earth metals, like gadolinium and heavy meal niobium, were also found in the Swiss wastewater, the report details. This does not appear to be an issue in Switzerland: in the vast majority of cases, concentrations were of no ecotoxicological concern and lay below specified limits. Every year, about 95 pounds of gold and 6,600 pounds of silver are wasted, scientists said, adding that the annual totals were "quite substantial".


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