瑞士的下水道每年被冲入的黄金价值数百万美元

瑞士有两样东西在世界上是无可匹敌的,一是钟表,二是银行。其中,瑞士银行因其独一无二的保密性被称为有钱人的天堂。今年6月瑞士银行日内瓦分行的马桶堵了,随后几天周边3家餐馆的马桶也堵住了,最后经疏通发现堵住马桶的竟是一捆捆500欧的纸币,总价值达到10万欧。这场名副其实的“洗钱”让网友感叹瑞士人真是“视金钱如粪土”。

本来只是一句玩笑话,没想到最近瑞士的下水道里真的发现了黄金。

据CNN报道,科学家们在瑞士的下水道和废水处理厂中发现了微量黄金,而据瑞士联邦水科学和技术研究所(EAWAG)的一项研究统计估算称,瑞士每年被冲入废水系统的黄金价值不菲,大约有95磅,以当前的现货黄金价格计算,损失的黄金价值近200万美元(约合人民币1316.36万人民币)。

▲图片来源:CNN

更令人惊奇的是,研究报告称,由于污水污泥中黄金的浓度足够高,因此这些黄金有可能被恢复,还原其原本的价值。

此消息一经报道,立刻在国外的社交媒体上炸开了锅。有网友在推特上一篇名为《瑞士的下水道都比你富有》的文章下调侃道:“Hi,瑞士的污水管道,你还需要男朋友吗”

还有网友表示,不排除自己会做“黄金矿工”,以搜寻污水管道为生。

污水中含金量大,但提炼难

那么,这些下水道和污水处理厂中的黄金究竟从何而来?

研究人员认为,这些微量的黄金是从瑞士著名的制表业和黄金精炼厂流进污水系统,逐渐累积形成的。

据彭博社报道,瑞士是世界上最大的黄金精炼中心,全球10家主要黄金精炼商中有四家位于瑞士,全球70%的黄金都在瑞士精炼。因此彭博也打趣的说道,瑞士的这些黄金精炼厂是时候认真考虑循环回收设备的可能性了。

在瑞士西部的Jura地区,污水中的黄金含量更高,据信这与使用贵金属来装饰昂贵钟表的手表制造商有关。

除了黄金以外,科学家们在污水里还发现了其他意想不到的元素,包括大量的银,甚至还有通常被用于制造电子设备的稀有矿物。据研究人员估计,每年有超过6500磅的白银流入瑞士废水中,按当时白银的价格其价值约为180万美元。

“你以为听到了一个关于愤怒的男人或女人把珠宝扔到马桶里的故事,但事实上,我们没有发现任何戒指。”瑞士联邦环境局委托研究人员Bas Vriens周四说。“虽然金或银的含量非常小,在微克,甚至是毫微克,但当你把它们加起来时,就相当可观了。”

一些市民提出了通过烧开自来水来提取黄金的想法,不过Vriens表示,“人们用自来水来回收黄金或银,这是没有意义的,因为在重新进入饮用水供应之前,它已经被过滤掉了。”

一年360吨,“粪土”中可淘金

无独有偶,日本也曾从一家污水处理厂过滤沟渠中得到大批黄金。

2009年位于日本本州岛中部长野县诹访市的污水处理厂利用焚烧下水道的污泥并对其进行加工的方式获得了大量黄金。该厂每处理一吨沉淀物便可得黄金一千八百九十克,这比一些金矿的黄金含量还多,比如同样位于日本的住友金属矿山公司属下的菱刈矿,该矿每吨矿石只能发现二十至四十克黄金而已。

当年,这批从“粪土”中淘出来的黄金为这家污水处理厂带来近16万美元的收入。据推断,该污水处理厂之所以能得到如此大量的黄金,可能是因为长野县有大量使用黄金的精密设备制造商,它们把废料排放到沟渠中所致。

美国亚利桑那州立大学(Arizona State University)的研究人员在2015年发表了一项研究报告称,一个100万人口城市每年排出的污水可能含有价值1300万美元的金属,而这其中黄金和白银的价值约为230万美元。研究猜测全球范围内每年从污水中回收的黄金可以达到360吨。

该报告作者Paul Westerhoff表示他发表这份报告的意图是让人们注意废物中的价值。“也许我们更应该把这污水看作是一种资源而不是废物”,他说道。

英国卡迪夫大学地质学家黑兹尔·普里查德(Hazel Prichard)也曾说道,相比于传统的矿山作业,在下水道中“采矿”可以省去挖矿和碾碎矿石等工序,这将降低人们获取黄金所需要付出的成本。

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