How to extract Gold Using Liquid Mercury?
Properties of Mercury
Mercury is a liquid metallic substance with unique attributes that give it a huge amounts of applicable uses.
Mercury is in a liquid form at normal room temperature of 24 degrees. It is exactly because of this the greeks in ancient times named it hydrargyrum, meaning "silver water" in Greek, thus its chemical symbol Hg stems from this very fact.
Like Alcohol which makes up the core of solvents of many chemicals because of its simple inante composition, liquid mercury or quicksilver’s chemical structure makes it an effective adsorbent and solvent of many ferrous and non ferrous metals.
It is because of the these facts that make Liquid Mercury from Asiamercury useful for extracting gold from ore via the procedure of amalgamating.
Asiamercury is one of the only suppliers and wholesalers of pure hydragyrum aka liquid mercury that can attest to the needed purity and quality of liquid mercury for extraction of gold for gold mining.
Amalgamation then Distillation
Gold Extraction Process
The Ancient Chinese and Hindus knew about the transformation properties of liquid mercury way back before the 2000 BC.
Liquid mercury was even found in tombs of Egyptian pharaohs , a famous story detailing how the 1st Emperor of China , Qin Shi Huang Di , ordered his tomb to have a lake of filled with mercury because he believed liquid mercury had the ability to give him everlasting life.
All throughout history , liquid mercury was used to extra gold and silver from dull ores.
To the naked eye , precious metals like gold and silver is invisible as it usually is mixed chemically in the slurs of black sand and mud , this has always been a problem for artisanal miners , until they found the the solution which is liquid mercury.
Ancient Miners most likely found the pebbles of mercury amalgamation and when they heated it up , the mercury evaporated and to their surprise left behind gold flakes.
Exactly how does Gold Dissolve in Mercury?
Gold is an inert metal on the periodic table this means it does not provide a chemical reaction to either acids or alkaline solvents.
Miners exploited the properties of liquid mercury which acts like a sponge on metal by mixing the ore sludge which they suspect has gold in it, this in turn causes the liquid mercury to absorb any metals including gold , forming a amalgamation which is not a chemical reaction but more of a physical reaction.
Since Mercury has a low boiling point , simple exposing it to a naked flame will cause it to evaporate thus leaving behind the raw gold.
However this gold is still not processed yet and it still contains impurities such a zinc,tin,copper or any other base metals prevalent to the lands.
To refine the gold nuggets , one will have to employ a nitric acid solution to eat away on the other base metals leaving behind pure gold , this is the most simplest and economical way to do it in rural , small artisanal gold mining communities in places such as africa , togo , benin , burkina faso and so on.
This this is the reason why just using liquid mercury in gold mining is the most economical and fastest way to start mining gold in lesser developed countries , it is efficient , and gets the job done however a big issue is there is a cost to all this , safety and environmental concerns are massive for employing these method of gold mining.
We will talk about the causes and effects of liquid mercury on the environment and humans in the next post.