Home / News / World /  This country is digging in sewage to find millions of gold and silver

A team of scientists in Brussels are mining gold and silver from the city's sewage. According to a report by World Economic Forum, the extracted metal could be worth up to 1.1 million pounds ( 11.23 crore) a year.

Scientists, who are involved in this project, has hoped that the metals will one day pay for the cost of clean water.

The metals end up in the sewer for a variety of reasons--slow erosion of jewellery; use of metal in medicine and disinfectants, and emission from diesel engine catalytic converters.

The metal becomes sludge left behind once the wastewater has been treated. The sludge is often used as an agricultural fertiliser but it is banned in Belgium due to its high metal content.

So, the scientists in Brussels are exploring eco-friendly ways to extract metals. they could use bacteria to 'wash' the metals out of the sludge.

Gold mining generates the highest emission in the mining sector. Recycling gold is around 300 times less carbon-intensive and there could be a vast store of recoverable gold in our planet.

A study by Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, also known as Eawag had claimed that an estimated 95 pounds of gold rush through Switzerland’s sewage pipes and its waste stations each year. And about 6,600 pounds of silver flows through sewage pipes, they added.

Sewers in the US might contain gold as well.

Researchers from Arizona State University published a similar study in 2015, finding that a US city of 1 million people flushes up to $13 million worth of precious metals into the sewage system each year. Roughly $2.3 million of that is gold and silver.

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