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Oct 12, 2017 01:29 PM IST | Source:

Scientists find gold worth over Rs 11 crore in Switzerland's sewers

Already a major gold refinery hub, now Switzerland’s gold industry seems to be in need of a recycling program

Moneycontrol News 

Switzerland’s gold industry may better invest in a new refining system - the one that works on its sewer drains.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology have come out with an estimate stating that around 43 kg of gold, worth more than Rs 11 crore, passes through the country’s wastewater every year.

At certain sites such as Ticino, where several gold refineries are present, the concentration of the yellow metal in the sewage sludge is high enough for the recovery to be “potentially worthwhile”, said a press release published by Eawag scientists on October 10.

It is the first such study where trace elements were surveyed in wastewater for an industrialised country.

In addition to gold, almost 3,000 kg of silver - equivalent to a value of Rs 11 crore- was going to waste every year, most if being residue from chemical and medical industries.

The rich sewer problem also invited several hilarious reactions from Twitter.

Apart from gold and silver, several other rare earth metals such as gadolinium and heavy metal niobium were also found in the Swiss wastewater.

Switzerland is one of the world’s major gold refining hubs with about 70 percent of world’s gold passing through it every year and four major gold refineries of the world being present on Swiss soil.

However, this is not the first time that metals have been detected in sewage sludge.

A previous report from Arizona State University found Rs 84 crore worth of precious metals in biosolids per year in the drainage system of a city in the United States.
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