In the past few months there has been an issue with gold mines being bought and sold which took the media by storm and was its agenda for quite a while. However, after being sold the main issue lies on how this gold will be extracted from the ground. There are a lot of methods to do so but as we all know; companies love to make the most money via the cheapest way possible. And the cheapest way to mine gold is with cyanide. Yes, you read that correctly, the compound which Hitler used to commit suicide after the war.
Cyanide as we all know is the most sudden way of ending someone’s life and is extremely poisonous to living beings. Gold cyanidation can be approached by a few techniques but the cruelest method which gold cyanidation helps separate the gold from all the other unwanted ores by firstly crushing the ore then adding the cyanide to make the gold water-soluble which means gold literally dissolves just like sugar does inside your morning cup of tea or coffee. If there is a leak in the process, the results will be terrifying for the life that is around. Even one millionth of a dose is enough to poison thousands of liters of water. So we asked about cyanide to a chemistry graduate from Bilkent Eren Kurşun.(24) “Cyanide is an ion which has a single negative charge and represented as CN-. The salt KCN which is formed ionically gives off K+ and CN- ions when dissolved in water can be also found in apple seeds and is lethal because it inhibits the electron transfer chain. This compound is odorless and colorless when dissolved”.
You might ask yourself is this even legal? Yes, in most parts of the world ore is an essential appliance for gold extraction however, an environmentalist lawyer Gözde Üçtepe (24) has a few things to say. “Sanctions of using the gold cyanidation should be much more severe for the benefit of nature’s protection with international agreements by environmental activists and organizations to present to their governments. I am fully aware of how harmful cyanide is to nature and I believe public awareness is a big step towards this achieving this goal”.
Not even engineers support gold cyanidation, we have also asked an engineer to have a more professional remark on the matter. “Gold cyanidation is an outdated practice hence this method of gold extraction should be abandoned and even though other methods might cost more with new technological advancements there are other ways of acquiring the gold which I find it as a much more proper way of extraction. The cyanide method is the most preferred method due to its very low costs and probably is the lowest so these companies don’t even think of the harm it would cause to nature. I believe that companies shouldn’t try to fill their pockets anymore instead try to leave a brighter future for earth.” Yeşim Üçtepe (28) Industrial Engineer.
Gold cyanidation is a very harmful and irrevocable method of extracting gold. We need to be aware of our nature in every way possible and prepare before anything irreversible that takes place. Instead of using the cheapest ways of mining, we should seek for alternative methods that are environment friendly and cause as low to no damage to nature.