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The growing demand for gold is pushing humanity to search for new sources of this sought-after resource. The scientists look for the deposits of the noble metal that are still untouched and await to be discovered.
“Precious lakes” inside volcanoes
Geologists from the University of Oxford have proposed a promising way to mine gold and other minerals. Experts recommend paying attention to volcanoes that hide untold riches in their bowels.
In the photo: the boiling volcano crater.
At a depth of about two kilometers, cavities are formed under the volcanoes filled with a liquid solution of precious metals: gold, silver and copper. Scientists suggest that resources from this red-hot substance can be extracted at a lower cost than from ore, which must be crushed and processed. In addition, the new method should be less harmful to the environment.
Along the way, it is planned to obtain geothermal energy from the hot depths, which will be able to recharge the equipment of gold miners.
It is worth noting that many deposits of valuable metals familiar to us were formed thanks to volcanoes. At the time of the eruption, the liquid mixture rises to the surface of the earth. Some of the substances are emitted into the atmosphere, while the other part remains in the Earth’s crust, cools and hardens.
In the photo: New Zealand’s White Island volcano erupts about 4.5 kg of gold annually, but much more of the metal remains in natural reservoirs deep underground.
According to scientists, almost every dormant or active volcano contains deposits of precious metals in liquid form. And this means that the proposed method of gold mining has very good prospects.
Potential difficulties and risks
However, not everything is so simple. To extract gold from the bowels of volcanoes, one has to drill wells to a depth of two kilometers. Special equipment capable of operating at a temperature of about 450°C is required.
In addition to technological difficulties, there is a risk of triggering a volcanic eruption. The probability of this is low, but it still needs to be taken into account.
It took five years to study all these nuances. Now scientists say they are ready to conduct the first experimental drilling and are already looking for a suitable place for this.
According to experts, active development of deposits under volcanoes can begin in 5-15 years.
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