Gold has always been essential to the union of two people for centuries — the gold wedding or engagement ring remains the hallmark of a marriage. Gold has a naturally warm colour, with a yellow hue and beautiful lustre, making it a popular metal in jewellery.
The gold ring is worn on the fingers of countless people worldwide, but how many know what goes on behind the making of that tiny piece of jewellery?
Mining gold for a single gold ring produces an alarming amount of toxic emissions. In the process of leaching out gold molecules with cyanide during gold mining, one 1/3-ounce (or 9.4g) 18-karat ring generates at least 13 pounds (or 5.9kg) of toxic emissions. These emissions include 5.5 pounds of lead, 3 pounds of arsenic, almost 2 ounces of mercury and 1 ounce of cyanide.
Despite these adverse environmental impacts, the demand for gold jewellery has remained strong. According to the World Gold Council, gold jewellery makes up the largest source of annual demand for gold and constitutes about 50% of total demand. Moreover, gold has been an integral part of culture. As a form of tradition in China, gold necklaces or bracelets are given to new-born babies. Meanwhile, in India, gold is seen as an important symbol of wealth and status and plays a crucial role in many rituals.
Furthermore, with rapid technological advancements in this day and age, gold has found its way into various innovative uses — for instance, as plating in windows to reflect heat radiation and in the use of gold nanoparticles in medicine to aid in the early detection of diseases.
With such extensive uses of gold, the demand for gold will persist. However, the current use of cyanide in gold mining means that toxic emissions will continue to be produced on a large scale indefinitely.
But what if these toxic emissions could become a thing of the past? Clean Mining, part of the Clean Earth Technologies Group, has an effective and commercially viable solution that eliminates the use of cyanide entirely, eradicating the production of toxic slurry. It uses a non-toxic, non-flammable and water-soluble, inorganic compound which includes thiosulphate to extract gold from ores.
All gold produced via Clean Mining technology and other ‘clean’ concepts is certified with a Clean Gold trademark established by Clean Mining. The ‘leaf’ logo appears on bullion and consumer jewellery, reminding consumers that they have contributed to a cleaner planet and healthier communities.
Will we live to see a time where the ‘leaf’ logo on gold jewellery becomes a norm?