Japanese waste treatment plant recovers gold from sewage
A sewage treatment facility in Central Japan is recovering more gold per year from processed sewage than some of the country’s biggest mines can yield. The plant has reported recovering almost 2 kg of gold per ton of sewage recently. In contrast, one of the biggest Japanese mines yields 20-40 grams of gold per ton of ore processed. The plant sits next to numerous precision machining companies and metal plating facilities, which probably is the reason behind high concentration of gold in sewage water in the area.
Considering gold prices are on the rise now as the result of economic meltdown, the treatment plant’s management is expecting to make a nifty financial gain from the recovered gold this fiscal year. This is just another good example of of an increasingly popular and successful waste treatment business model.
A sewage treatment facility in central Japan has recorded a higher gold yield from sludge than can be found at some of the world's best mines.
An official in Nagano prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, said the high percentage of gold found at the Suwa facility was probably due to the large number of precision equipment manufacturers in the vicinity that use the yellow metal.
The facility recently recorded finding 1,890 grams of gold per tonne of ash from incinerated sludge.
That is a far higher gold content than Japan's Hishikari Mine, one of the world's top gold mines, owned by Sumitomo Metal Mining, which contains 20-40 grams of the precious metal per tonne of ore.
The prefecture is so far due to receive 5 million yen (39,075 pounds) for the gold, minus expenses.
It expects to earn about 15 million yen for the fiscal year to the end of March from the gold it has retrieved from the ashes of incinerated sludge.
"How much we actually receive will depend on gold prices at the time," the official said.
Some gold industry officials expect prices this year to top the all-time high above $1,030 per ounce set in 2008, on buying by investors worried about the deepening economic downturn.