torsdag 10. september 2015

Chasing the Seductive Gleam of Gold

National Ocean Service points out that the oceans hold 20 million tons of the precious metal of Gold. That is 4,5 kilos for every human on Earth.
But there is a tiny snag. Ocean-gold is so diluted that one liter of seawater contains about 13 billionths of a gram. In other words, you will get only one gram of gold for every 13 billionth liter of water you sift through. 

Harvesting gold
However, what if you were able to extract an undefined amount of this gold? Let us say that you were a genius and invent small nano-machines capable of harvesting gold atoms out of seawater. This might be compared to a certain type of bacteria in our bodies which is able to get iron from blood. Imagine billions of tiny bots programmed to head back to your collector station and deposit the gold, then off again to collect another few atoms of the precious stuff. You need quite a few nano-bots to work on this. But then again, imagine that you have invented self-replicating bots engineered to build gold copies of themselves. Copies, which like army ants on the march, will return to your collecting points.

You are a genius
Having said that, bear with me and follow my stream of consciousness . You - the undiscovered genius - are starting to harvest gold just like any other traditional gold prospector. Gram after gram of ultrapure gold is piling up, and you need to sell some of it for bread, butter and other stuff for your small-scale, private, gold-bot enterprise.
   Sooner or later you are bound to attract some kind of unwanted attention even if you sell small amounts on the black market. Eventually somebody is going to find out that you are the person supplying the market with extra gold – and that you do it by extracting gold from ocean water and then… Then you are going to have an unfortunate, deadly accident. It is even questionable if you would be allowed to patent your invention! It is simply too dangerous to the world’s status quo.
   Worldwide, 100 million people are getting their livelihood from the precious metal, and your invention would mean the end of gold as a valuable metal. Mighty men with enormous economic interests would not sit idle and watch their golden empires turn into base metal. Madness? Not so… because this has happened before. In the mid-19th century, when aluminum was rare and twice as expensive as gold, the most honored guests of Napoleon III were served meals on aluminum plates. Guests of lesser importance had to eat from gold or silver plates
A drop in the ocean
Anyway, with an untapped potential of 20 million tons of gold diluted in ocean water just imagine what large scale extraction would do to the World markets. 21st July Mitsubishi Corporation - Bullion Daily Report reported: The Tokyo markets were closed last night to celebrate Ocean Day, which must have given someone the somewhat poetic ide to push the precious metals into their own version of the Marianas Trench… … Someone or a group of someone sold about 150 000 ounces of gold last night at about the time of the Shanghai opening. In the holiday-thinned illiquid conditions, the result was nothing short of the expected catastrophic – a $ 50 drop in less than two minutes.

150 000 ounces are close to 4700 kilo. Not much, when you consider it, but nervous traders will hit the Stop Loss button if they perceived something really bad was coming their way. A measly half a ton is considered catastrophic. My hat! And there are 20 million tons of gold threading water just waiting to be extracted. The future is bright!

Why is gold valuable?
Ask yourself. Why is gold valuable? The answers you usually get are: There is so little of it, and it is valuable because everybody says it is valuable. A nice piece of indoctrination, but that is the way it is, no matter what we say or do. 
   Above mentioned concepts belong to day in Science Fiction, but so did virtual reality, heart transplants and cellphones not that many years ago. Who knows, maybe nano-bots will extract all kinds of metal from the ocean in the future. Currently, there isn’t a cost-effective way to mine or extract gold from the ocean to make a profit. Your gold is still a safe investment.

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