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Gold in Seawater

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            Gold is considered as a chemical element carrying the symbol ‘Au’, taken from the Latin word ‘Aurum’ and it has an atomic number, 79. Among the metals found in earth, it is one of the most in demand because it is being used in making money and jewelry. It can be found in underground veins and in alluvial deposits as a grain in rocks. It is also considered as a coinage metals with characteristics of a dense, soft, shiny, yellow metal. It is also the most flexible and elastic metal.

Sixty percent (60%) of its known reserve can be found in the Republic of South Africa.

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            Gold can be found more concentrated in waters rich in plankton because of various natural processes such as but not limited to, biological scavengers which can build up gold, piling up and sticking of gold into particles of clay and sediments, less sedimentary deposits of microorganisms, and lastly, planktons has high molecular weight which can cause the adsorption of gold.

            Gold can not be extracted commercially because doing so requires ore grades of 30 gram per 1000 kilogram or 30ppm thus most of the time it is invisible to the eyes. Another reason is that it needs processes like Wohlwill and/or Mill to refine it. Aside from that gold is a soft metal thus it requires certain processes before it can be finally obtained. It should be alloyed first so that it acquires more strength to stand on its own. But the things is that there is no available commercial extraction of gold that is why the miners are having a hard time in getting large volumes of gold where its quality will not be sacrificed. Many people have tried to do it, investing large amount of money in funding the extraction of gold from seawater. One of them is the German physicist Fritz Haber. After the First World War, Haber devoted again much time on research. The Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Planck-Society, wherein Haber was appointed as director, stopped processing. This caused Haber to lack finances. As such, Haber then thought of paying all the debts through gold resources from seawater. He believed that gold could be extracted in seawater with high concentration. Haber even formed a secret task force team that developed new methods and techniques on extracting gold from seawater. However, like any other, Haber failed. According to chemists, the processes of extracting gold involve series of enormous centrifuges.

             Gold is also claimed to save the Switzerland during World War II. Hitler did not attack Switzerland, or Soviet Union, due to financial services. The currency of Germany during that time was not accepted anymore in international market. As a solution, they sold gold to Switzerland in exchange to their money, which is of convertible currency at that time. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) bought gold worth 1,212,600 million Swiss Francs from the German Reichsbank. It was far more than the gold reserves of the Reichsbank had summed up before the war. During this time, trading and selling of gold was a usual thing for a national bank. It was because gold was the very foundation of the scheme of international currency.


McNulty, Timothy. (1994). “Gold from the Sea” Retrieved May 7, 2007, 2007 from http://www.goldfever.com/gold_sea.htm

Nelson, Stephen A. (2003). “Resources of Minerals and Energy” Retrieved May 7, 2007, 2007 from http://www.tulane.edu/~sanelson/geol111/matenergy.htm

“The Endless Voyage: Treasure Trove”. (2006). Frederick Community College. Retrieved May 7, 2007, 2007 from http://www.scctv.net/frederick/default.aspx?CustomerID=275


Cite this Gold in Seawater

Gold in Seawater. (2016, Dec 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/gold-in-seawater/

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