Sci-Fi Ways We Will Find Gold and Other Precious Metals in the Future

Sci-Fi Ways We Will Find Gold and Other Precious Metals in the Future

Twenty-five years ago, few people could have predicted that people would be using drones to prospect for gold and other precious metals. In today’s post, let’s put on our thinking caps and predict how tech-savvy treasure-seekers will be looking for gold and other precious metals in the years ahead.

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Complicated Precious Metal Recycling Problems Made Easy

Complicated Precious Metal Recycling Problems Made Easy

Recycling precious metals often involves analyzing and refining big messy batches of mixed materials. People who own these mixed lots of material know that gold or silver or platinum is “in there” somewhere, but don’t know where it is, what it is, or how much of it is present. 

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Georgius Agricola (1494-1555), Father of Modern Metallurgy

If you’re involved in mining, smelting, refining – or any process that has to do with metals – you’re using techniques developed by a Georgius Agricola, a German scientist who is often called the father of metallurgy. His book, De Re Metallica (“On the Nature of Metals”) was published in Latin in 1556, a year after he died. Georgius described techniques of mining and smelting in such a practical way that the book remained a standard handbook for nearly 200 years.

This guy was ahead of his time. In fact, all of us in the metals business are still doing a lot of the things that he wrote about, including . . .

16th Century Mining Woodcut from Georgius Agricolas 'De re metallica libri XII'

16th Century Mining Woodcut from Georgius Agricolas 'De re metallica libri XII'

  • Smelting ores to extract the metals they contain.
  • Finding veins of precious metals like gold and silver in rock and underground.
  • Separating gold from silver, lead from gold or silver, and silver from copper.
  • Surveying mine sites and safely digging mine shafts.
  • Selecting the right tools and machines to extract ore from mines.
  • Extracting, crushing and washing ores from mining concentrates.

Some Trivia about De Re Metallica

Agricola’s real name was Georg Bauer, which means “George Farmer” in German. But he used the name Georgius Agricola – which means the same thing in Latin - when he published his book. Back in the sixteenth century, Latin was the language of scientific discourse.

In 1912, the first English edition of De Re Metallica was published in London. One of the translators was none other than Herbert Hoover, a mining engineer who later became president of the United States. You can still buy a copy of his translation in a modern edition from Dover Books.

If you’re involved in mining or recycling precious metals, Georgius Agricola still has some lessons to teach you, even though he died way back in 1555.

It’s all part of the colorful history of precious metals recycling. Thanks for joining us for this little history lesson today.

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Why It Pays to Have Mining Ores Analyzed for Precious Metals

If you’re with a mining company that extracts just about anything from the earth – coal, zinc, gypsum - it can be a very good idea to send us samples of your ores or other mined substances. We can analyze them and let you know whether they contain silver, gold or other precious metals that can be profitably extracted, smelted, and refined.

Looking for Secondary Precious Metals: A Case Study

Shown: mining concentrates which could contain silver, gold and other precious metals which could be extracted, processed and recycled by Specialty Metals.

Shown: mining concentrates which could contain silver, gold and other precious metals which could be extracted, processed and recycled by Specialty Metals.

Hudbay Minerals operates two large mines in northern Ontario, Canada: the 777 Mine and the Trout Lake Mine. Both mines extract primarily copper and zinc, but Hudbay is always careful to profit from quantities of silver and gold that can be found in its ores.

According to company data, Hudbay retrieved 91,258 ounces of silver and gold from its mining operations in 2013. That’s a small quantity in comparison to the amount of copper (about 30,000 tons) and zinc (about 87,000 tons) that come out of Hudbay’s mines. But with gold and silver prices high, Hudbay is not about to let precious metals and precious dollars slip away.

You shouldn’t either. If your business deals with ores – either ores that you mine or acquire from other sources for processing – you should find out whether they contain secondary quantities of silver or gold. Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 and we’ll be pleased to tell you how it works.

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