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

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

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology estimate that about 43 kilograms of gold - worth about $1.8 million - passes through the country's wastewater every year.

Apart from gold and silver, several other rare earth metals such as gadolinium and heavy metal niobium were also found in the Swiss wastewater. For the major nutrient phosphorus, measurements from this study confirmed earlier calculations: inputs from wastewater treatment plants account for 50 per cent of phosphorus loads in large Swiss rivers. For example, elevated concentrations of ruthenium, rhodium and gold were found in the Jura (presumably from the watchmaking industry), and of arsenic (presumably geogenic) in parts of Graubünden and Valais.

According to Bloomberg, Switzerland is a major hub for gold refineries.

In some sites, like Ticino, researchers say the concentrations of gold in the sewage sludge are "sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile".

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

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.

The Swiss waste water processes an estimated 6,500 pounds of silver each year - which translates to about $1.8 million, CNN Money points out.

In September, Swiss investigators launched a probe into why two Spanish women flushed roughly €100,000 ($120,000) down toilets in Geneva.

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