Scientists have discovered gold growing in trees in Australia

Researchers identify revolutionary potential in sustainable mining

Posted: 29-05-2024 at 3:34 PM

By: Vittoria Bronzati

Researchers identify revolutionary potential in sustainable mining | Photo: Reproduction

Scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have discovered that certain eucalyptus trees in the Kalgoorlie region of Australia have the ability to absorb microscopic gold particles from the soil through their roots. The research was published in the journal Nature Communications and opens up new perspectives for mineral exploration.

Eucalyptus trees, in particular, have roots that can penetrate more than 30 meters deep, acting as veritable hydraulic pumps that extract water and gold particles from underground. Once absorbed, the gold is transported from the roots to the leaves and branches, where the trees carry out chemical changes that remove the metal’s toxicity before returning it to the soil.

This discovery could change the way we search for and find gold deposits, as the presence of gold in eucalyptus leaves can serve as a natural indicator of mineral deposits located at great depths. X-ray techniques used at the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne were crucial in accurately mapping the distribution and concentration of these microscopic gold particles, which are about one-fifth the diameter of a human hair.

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The city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, known for the historic gold rush that began in 1893, is now rising to prominence again with this unprecedented discovery. Australia has over 700 species of major eucalyptus species, many of which have proven to be highly adapted to the climatic conditions of Oceania.

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In Brazil, eucalyptus also plays an important role, with large plantations concentrated in Minas Gerais. The Minas Gerais city of Itamarandiba, for example, is one of the country’s leading eucalyptus producers, having been a leader in forestry for more than three decades.

About the author: Cory Weinberg

"Student. Subtly charming organizer. Certified music advocate. Writer. Lifelong troublemaker. Twitter lover."

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