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THE GOLD

When the fabulous deposits became sub-economical, the descendants of these men returned to London, New York or Tel Aviv, abandoning the South Africa to native population.

It is estimated that the total amount of gold won from the earth to the end of 1985 is about:
3.85 billion (3.85 x 103) troy oz (120 x 103 g.).

Of this amount:
2% was produced prior to 1492,
8% during the period 1492-1800,
20% during the interval 1801-1900,
70% from 1901-1985
(all figures being rough estimates).

In volume the total amount of gold won from the earth would occupy 6,300 m3 or an 18.5 m cube, a small volume of metal indeed to have so influenced the toil, trials, tribulations, and destiny of man for 5,000 years.

The current annual world production of gold is about 1,338 metric tons.
50% of this production is derived from quartz-pebble conglomerate deposits,
20% from eluvial and alluvial placers, and the remainder from the various vein and disseminated deposits.

The general literature on gold reaches back some 5,000 years, almost to the birth of writing. The most ancient accounting tablets of the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, scribed about 3100 B.C., mention the metal as do also the pictographics, phonographics (word-syllabic systems), and hieroglyphics on the tablets and papyri of the most ancient Hittite, Elamite, Egyptian, Cretan, Indian (Harappan), and Chinese civilizations.

Initial mention of gold in a geological context appeared about 1320 B.C. on the famous "La carte des mines d'or", a Rameside papyrus and fragments depicting a gold mining region in Egypt. Since that time the geological and geochemical literature on gold has multiplied prodigiously, so that today there are perhaps more references to gold in the literature of the earth sciences than for any other element in the periodic table of the elements.

Gold has played a unique and prominent part in the history of the theory of mineral deposits, especially in the theories advanced through the ages to explain the origin of veins and placers. For this reason, and to provide a background, I have included an opening chapter on the types and geochemistry of auriferous deposits; I have also included in later chapters pertinent details on the various theories of the origin of mineral deposits and discussed briefly the philosophical, social, and scientific milieu within which these various theories developed.

For more look to Boyle R. W., the best research on gold!

Boyle R. W., 1979, The geochemistry of gold and its deposits, Canada Geol. Survey Bull. 280, 584p.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Agricola, G., 1556. De re metallica, Basle. H. C. and L. H. Hoover, Transl., Mining Mag., London. 1912, 637p.
Barba, A. A.. 1640. El Arte de los Metales, Madrid. (Trans. by R. E. Douglass and E. P Mathewson as The Art of the Metals, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1923, 288p.)
Biringuccio, V., 1540. Pirotechnia, Venice. C. S. Smith and M. T. Gnudi, Trans., M.I.T


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Rafal Swiecki, geological engineer email contact

This document is in the public domain.

March, 2011