Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny/Overcast    27 / 15 ℃  City Forecast


Asia-Pacific project aims to harvest gold from toxic land--NZ expert


14:41, April 17, 2012

WELLINGTON, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Scientists from New Zealand, China and Indonesia are working on a joint project to "soak up" gold with plants while detoxifying polluted land in developing countries.

The project was born from the swathes of degraded land across the developed world where poor miners have used mercury to extract gold from the earth and dumped the toxic tailings.

"The mercury gets into the water or into the food or into the air, and we can process it in our bodies," said Chris Anderson, senior lecturer in soil and earth sciences at New Zealand's Massey University.

The neurotoxicity of mercury can be devastating, Anderson told Xinhua

"It can cause cancer and other problems, but mostly it will affect the brain and the results can be quite debilitating. Where you have mercury poisoning, there's a risk of people becoming very sick."

Anderson, who began studying the relationship between metals and plants about 13 years ago, started communicating with the Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in around 2004 after learning of its work in using plants to extract mercury from contaminated soil.

The institute, based in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province, had been developing the process to decontaminate the earth around the mercury mining industry in Guizhou's Wanshan area.

The cooperation deepened with the arrival of Chinese doctoral student at Massey and together they started studying the effects of illegal gold mining in Indonesia.

Later this year, Massey, the CAS Institute of Geochemistry and two Indonesian institutions Brawijaya University and the University of Mataram are together formally opening the International Research Centre for the Management of Degraded and Mining Lands at Brawijaya in Malang.

Anderson said the center would focus as much on education communities and opportunities for sustainable agricultural development as it would on developing the technology to remediate the land.

"There are tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of people around the world affected by this sort of gold mining, but Indonesia has become a real hot spot for it," Anderson said in a phone interview.

The miners extracted rock from the ground, which they broke up in machines and then mixed with liquid mercury, which bonded with the gold. They then separated the mercury from the gold, often manually.

【1】 【2】


Leave your comment1 comments

  1. Name

elee at 2012-04-17183.39.36.*
Excellent example of frienships and trust among all Asia_Pacific people!

Selections for you

  1. Chinese martial arts promoted in schools

  2. APF graduating cadets carry out comprehensive drill

  3. Second batch of traditional architectural culture travel destinations in China

  4. Mongolian culture courses taught in China's Hohhot

Most Popular


  1. Short-term trade recovery expected to elude China
  2. Stronger policies needed to push dividend payouts
  3. US, China must co-op to defuse confidence crisis
  4. Regulations holding back financial sector’s progress
  5. City banks' IPO push puts investors at risk
  6. Ways to develop low-carbon economy in China
  7. RRR cut still in country’s best economic interest
  8. Relax high-tech restrictions
  9. Overseas investment yields not nation's priority
  10. A neutral US helpful to stability in S China Sea

What's happening in China

Dance drama "Goddess And The Dreamer"staged in Henan, China

  1. Public participation would guard use of donations
  2. Beijing's youth jobless rate soars
  3. Beijing kicks off campaign targeting illegal aliens
  4. China to enlarge talent pool to 180m by 2020
  5. Nurse injured in knife attack in hospital

PD Online Data

  1. Spring Festival
  2. Chinese ethnic odyssey
  3. Yangge in Shaanxi
  4. Gaoqiao in Northern China
  5. The drum dance in Ansai