Gold has financial value. Since the 1970s, gold markets have grown, and many more people want to buy gold or invest in this precious metal. In the early days most of the gold was recovered by early prospectors, who panned gold in rivers and streams. They scooped up loose sand in wide disc-shaped bowls, added river water, and gently turned and tipped the pan. The denser gold particles settle slowly compared with the lighter sand grains. Gold grains form a golden tail at the edge of the pan. Although some alluvial gold is still recovered today, most of these easy-to-mine deposits have been depleted. Mining companies are faced with very marginal gold deposits, where the grade is poor, or the gold mine is very deep, or the gold is locked in other minerals.,
Why should you buy gold?
Gold’s physical and chemical qualities are unsurpassed by any other metal, hence its high value. There are four main gold sectors, and its diversity pushes productivity, demand, and the gold price upwards.
- Half of all gold mined from the ground becomes jewellery, mainly for the Indian and Chinese markets.
- Most investment advisers view gold as a reliable commodity, and they recommend that all investment portfolios contain some gold shares. This is because gold enhances and protects an investment portfolio in times of turmoil.
- After the 2008 financial crisis, the central bank re-evaluated its position on gold’s role and importance. Since 2010, instead of selling off gold, the central bank is buying more gold.
- Gold in nanometre-sized particles smaller than a wavelength of light can be used in medicine and as advanced catalysts purifying water and air.
Where do we find gold?
Gold nuggets found in rivers or streams were easy pickings but today, gold mining uses sophisticated and advanced equipment. Heavy trucks move gold-bearing rocks to an extraction building where more heavy equipment crushes the rock. Often the gold particles are micron-sized and encapsulated within other minerals or waste rock. Gold-bearing pieces crushed by heavy machinery then need to be separated from unwanted material. The gold-bearing ore is purified by chemically floating the gold-bearing ore away from the other particles or dissolving the gold-rich rock in cyanide and reprecipitating. Gravity separations sink denser gold-rich particles from less dense particles. The concentrated gold particles are refined and poured into ingots. Gold is too soft to fashion into jewellery, and so it is alloyed with harder metals such as palladium, copper, or zinc.
Why should gold be recycled?
More than three-quarters of all the gold mined from the ground is still around. It is nearly impossible to destroy or corrode gold. Gold can and is being reused or recycled, and new gold products made. Gold coins or antique gold jewellery have significant value, and many precious metal dealers will buy gold items. It is worth scavenging through old boxes in the attic to recover antique jewellery that will never be used and take it to a gold dealer who will exchange it for money.