NR  Vol.6 No.11 , November 2015
Green Gold—Dirty Gold, Tadó, Dept. Chocó, Colombia

In place of mercury, small-scale alluvial gold miners in Tadó, Dept. Chocó, Colombia produce “green gold” (oroverde) using locally available plant extracts. The leaves of Balso (Ochroma pyramidale) and Malva (Hibiscus furcellatus) are crushed by hand and are mixed with water to make a foamy liquid that is added to the gold pan (batea) instead of mercury. After the plant extract is added, the gold, magnetite, and other heavy minerals sink and the lighter minerals are floated out of the gold pan. For final clean-up, a combination of other methods may be used. However, ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma) analyses indicate that even green gold contains 208 - 4530 ppm Hg—this mercury may have been released from dragas or other small-scale gold mining operations that continue to use mercury; coal burning; volcanism; or native mercury released from cinnabar occurrences. ICP also indicates 308 - 106,000 ppm Ag and 452 - 585 ppm Pt.

Cite this paper
Brooks, W. , Sierra-Giraldo, J. and Palacios, F. (2015) Green Gold—Dirty Gold, Tadó, Dept. Chocó, Colombia. Natural Resources, 6, 534-542. doi: 10.4236/nr.2015.611051.
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