Does Our Sewage Waste Contain The Next Gold Rush?

According to the latest research from Arizona State University, we could be looking to our toilets for the next major gold discovery.

A recently published research paper is making some headlines in the commodity sector, and in particular the gold market. The paper reports that sewage sludge from a community with a population of about 1 million could contain metal worth about $13 million per year. Of that, about $2.6 million comes from gold and silver.

The paper hypothesized that, globally, about 360 tons of gold could be recovered from sewage sludge annually. With gold prices hovering above $1,200 an ounce, that could equal $12.6 billion each year from sewage waste.

“We didn’t specifically go looking for gold and silver but once we started to see these particles it was something we found very interesting,” said professor Paul Westerhoff, the lead author of the research paper, in an interview with Kitco News. “It was surprising to see just how much gold we found.”

The research paper reported gold ore grades ranging from 0.3 to 0.6 grams per ton. Westerhoff added that as communities and cities become more densely populated, he would expect to see the concentration of metal particles to increase


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