The “Golden” Opportunity of Geothermal?

Craters of the Moon, Taupo, NZ (source: flickr/ wouter!, creative commons)
Francisco Rojas Francisco Rojas 25 Aug 2015

A geothermal reservoir in NZ has large deposits of precious metals that could be extracted to generate around "three billion dollars worth of gold and three and a half billion in silver" per year.

One can not be sure what do the geothermal professionals in NZ say out loud when they test wells and they prove to be successful… Gold? They might as well, since researchers from the US and the aforementioned country have found “large deposits of gold and silver in at least six reservoirs beneath several volcanoes in New Zealand”.

In the Taupo area, nature has been doing the hard work of concentrating the precious metals underground since “magma heating water in the volcanic zone had been breaking down rocks for quite some time, releasing the gold and silver in them. Those metal particles then fell to the floor of reservoirs that are hundreds of meters deep. The natural process is similar to the way modern precious metals are obtained—lode bearing rock is crushed and then sifted using water—the heavier metals land at the bottom where they are retrieved.”

This is yet another surprising byproduct from geothermal power. The team doing the research estimates that there is a big profit to be made since a potential “three billion dollars worth of gold and three and a half billion in silver” could be extracted… Annually!

The big caveat is that new technology would need to be developed in order to extract the precious metals and agreements need to be done with geothermal firms tapping the resource.

Nevertheless, this is quite the find and showcases that this industry has a lot to offer beyond power and heat.

To read more on the topic, follow the link.

Source: Phys Org