It might surprise you, but the service of gold recycling helps to save lives and our environment. I understand how that sounds, but please – bear with me. Large portion of gold used by jewellers, scientists and engineers comes from recycled gold – the gold bought at the local cash for gold shops. Gold that otherwise would have to be mined for.
This Wednesday, October 13th marked the end of the longest mining shift in history, when 33 Chilean miners were rescued from a collapsed San Jose copper-gold mine after being trapped for 69 days half a mile below the ground.
The world was holding its breath during those past few days while superiorly organised and generously sponsored flawless rescue operations have succeeded in extracting “lost 33” from a collapsed mine and accidentally discovering considerable gold deposits on the way when drilling the capsule sized rescue tunnels.
While the media lit spotlight was filled with images of rescued men and their families, as well as religious organisations supplying trapped miners with gospel loaded Mp3 players, Pope Benedict XVI and by eager to improve his political standing Sebastian Pinera, Chile’s president, only few sources have reported on infallible issues surrounding this incident.
Despite mining industry in recent decades pouring considerable resources into safety improvements, history of mining practice has long been marred by disasters, and remains as such. As the world’s attention shifted from China’s unreported accidents to Massey mine explosion in April, to San Jose gold-copper mine this week, we began wondering how these companies could have allowed the type of accidents common in the 19th century.
The nature of mining profession has never been synonymous with health, nature or human rights. Mining industry was never known neither for prioritising on safety of its employees nor on reducing the impact of mining on the environment for that matter.
Such incidents as chemical and gas leaks, destroyed aquatic and terrestrial habitats, or poisoned water reservoirs risks have lessened, but nevertheless are far from being eliminated.
Categorising the impact of mining as “industrial waste”, pointing fingers at the big multinational companies and protesting on a global scale shows how easily we forgot the origins of it all. Is our consumerist fascination with precious metals worth all the impact it does to satisfy our not-so-vital needs? The answer is no, the solution? All the same – recycling.
While recently sky-rocketed gold prices has allowed aggressive mining and encouraged untrained individuals to go into mines, we also saw more gold buying businesses sprouting all around the world. Besides being an annoying nuisance on the corner of your nearest intersection, these small guys are doing the greater good to this planet by melting the existing gold items and getting refined bars back to jewellers, scientists and dentists.
So here is another thing we can do for ourselves and the rest of the planet besides sorting out garbage and making healthy diet choices. Looking for anything gold in your house that you do not use, a mismatched earring, broken bracelets and chains, or that tedious necklace your ex gave you would be a good start. Jewellery you do not wear can do so much more for you then collecting dust in drawers – it can help save lives and our environment, while you get cash.