Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Mining gold from sewage


Gold barsJapan has discovered a new source of mineral wealth — sewage.

A sewage treatment plant in central Japan has recorded a higher gold yield from sludge than can be found at some of the world’s best mines.

Nagano, in the mountains northwest of Tokyo, is home to some precision equipment manufacturers that use gold in their work and a local official says the yellow metal is turning up in the waste.

Some 1,890 grammes of gold per tonne of incinerated-sludge ash has been recovered — far higher than the gold content at Japan’s Hishikari goldmine where about 20-40 grammes of the precious metal is found per tonne of ore.

So far the local authorities have found about $56,000 worth of gold and they think they can triple that by the end of March.