There are rivers of fine gold in Switzerland, unfortunately those rivers are sewage systems.
Millions of dollars worth of gold is running into Switzerland’s drainage systems.
Bloomberg reports that scientists in the country estimates 43 kilograms of the precious metal passes through its wastewater annually.
That equates to approximately US$1.8 million worth of gold waste every year.
Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology released the report earlier this week.
The researchers even suggest employing a recovery effort in the southern region of Ticino, where several of the world’s major refineries are located. “Concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile,” the report stated.
Concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile
In the study, involving 64 water treatment plants, it was also found that 3000 kilograms or US$1.7 million of silver was becoming waste — although much of it is reported to be residue from the chemical and medical industries.
Switzerland is the gold refining capital of the world. In 2016, gold equated to 27% of its total export, which was a staggering $302 billion.
“In an average year, Switzerland refines about 70% of world gold,” said Frédéric Panizzutti, spokesman of MKS (Switzerland) SA, a Geneva-based company, which specialises in gold trading and owns the Pamp refinery in Castel San Pietro, Ticino.