Before you slip that gold ring onto your finger today or check the latest gold prices you may want to consider these facts. This is only a small percentage of what I could write about gold and I strongly recommend that you educate yourself about it. There are many facets of the gold industry but I am focusing on the toxicity and the slavery issue. For all of its allure, gold’s human and environmental toll has never been so steep. Part of the challenge, as well as the fascination, is that there is so little of it. In all of history, only 161,000 tons of gold have been mined, barely enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools.
-The dumps consist of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury amongst others.
-Water in not consumable if these heavy metals are found in it and when sulfide bearing minerals in these ore dumps are exposed to air and water, the sulfide transforms into sulfuric acid which in turn dissolves the heavy metals facilitating their passage into surface water and ground water
-The gold ore dumps are considered as long-term man-made hazardous waste next only to nuclear waste dumps. Just ask anyone in Hungary when a huge toxic dump called the worst in history only second to Chernobyl occurred.
-Billions of dollars need to be spent to mitigate the heavy metals pollution from worldwide gold ore dumps which are increasing every year.
-Gold extraction is also highly energy intensive industry (25 k w h of electricity per one gram of gold production) to extract ore from deep mines and to grind the large quantity of ore for further chemical extraction.
-The ore generally containing less than one ppm gold metal, is ground and mixed with SODIUM CYANIDE or mercury to react with gold in the ore for gold separation.
-CYANIDE is highly poisonous chemical, which can kill living creatures when exposed in minute quantities. Many cyanide spills from gold mines have taken place worldwide both in developed and poor countries which killed the marine life in long stretches of affected rivers.
-When mercury is used in gold production, minute quantity of mercury compounds reach water bodies, causing heavy metal contamination of water. Mercury enters into the human food chain in the form of METHYL MERCURY through fish, etc. Mercury poisoning in humans causes incurable brain function damage and severe retardation.
– Tons of mercury is released during the process of separating gold from rock. In small-scale gold mining two to five grams of mercury are released into the environment for every gram of gold recovered—a staggering statistic, given that mercury poisoning can cause severe damage to the nervous system and all major organs.
-Gold is mined in over 70 countries and 90 percent of the workers—up to 25 million people—dig for gold manually, largely in poor, remote areas
– Over 1 million children work in small-scale mines around the world. Traffickers sell them to mine bosses as a cheap source of labor. They make attractive workers because they are small enough to fit into narrow underground tunnels.
-In what is perhaps a less known but an equally unjust situation, miners in many countries around the world have become victims of debt bondage. This happens when miners owe large debts to the suppliers of the land and equipment that they need to work. These suppliers exploit them by charging a rate that is several times the market value. If the miners try to leave before paying off their debts, which can take many years, they are threatened with violence or death.
-Women are the main victims. They may work in mines or in nearby households as domestic servants without pay. Due to the fact that women are forbidden from working in the mines in many regions of the world, women may have no choice in this regard. Or, they may be trafficked from other areas, held against their will and forced into prostitution.
– over 50% as a much as 2/3 of the gold that is mined is used for jewelry.
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