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Gold nearly 2 million dollars found in wastewater in Switzerland

12 October 2017

Researchers a year ago detected 3 tonnes of silver and 43 kg of gold in effluent and sludge from waste water treatment plants - amounting to around 3 million Swiss francs (US$3.1 million).

That's over $2.25 million in gold and $2.12 million in silver, researchers report.

Their discovery is the latest example of wealthy Switzerland finding riches in unusual places. For instance, in certain sites in the Ticino region, scientists estimated that "concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile".

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The Eawag researchers studied 64 water treatment plants across the nation and concluded that the metals found in Swiss sewers do not pose a risk to the environment.

"This can be attributed to the presence of several gold refineries in the region", said the report.

Other rare earth metals, like gadolinium and heavy meal niobium, were also found in the Swiss wastewater, the report details.

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The report says the study focused primarily on the fluxes and mass balances, rather than recovery value.

Swiss scientists have found that 43kg of gold worth about $1.8 million is passing through Switzerland's wastewater each year, as first spotted by Bloomberg.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute aquanaute and technology has estimated that approximately 43 kilograms of gold, worth about $ 1.8 million annually passes through the waste water. Each year, about 70 percent of the world's gold passes through the oil refineries of the country.

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Gold nearly 2 million dollars found in wastewater in Switzerland