Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Scientists find gold worth over Rs 11 crore in Switzerland's sewers

"Concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile", the researchers wrote.

According to Bloomberg, Swiss scientists estimate Switzerland's bustling gold refineries disperse about $1.8 million worth of gold into the country's sewer system every year.

Switzerland is one of the world's major gold refining hubs with about 70 percent of world's gold passing through it every year and four major gold refineries of the world being present on Swiss soil.

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

The study, commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, involved surveys of 64 waste water treatment plants across the country.

Scientists have struck gold in an unlikely place: Swiss sewage and waste water treatment plants.

Still, gold is not the only prized possession coursing through the sewage pipes in Switzerland. However, the study also produced surprising findings on other trace elements in wastewater, including rare earth metals such as gadolinium and the heavy metal niobium. Every year, about 95 pounds of gold and 6,600 pounds of silver are wasted, scientists said, adding that the annual totals were "quite substantial".

Moreover, the same research team discovered that in this particular area where most manufacturers established their headquarters and shops, the amount of gold was so significant, they could collect it. It circled back to two Spanish women who reportedly flushed 500-euro bills at a UBS bank and local restaurants.

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