This research revolves around the production and processing of gold as one of the most precious metals in the world. Gold was never actually formed and it is a natural element that can only be obtained through mining. In that case gold is itself a highly valuable mineral categorized among other precious metals such as platinum, silver, palladium, and uranium among others.
Gold is acquired as pure yellowish metallic element through mining. The nature of the primary locations from where gold is extracted is examined in this research. Other significant aspects such as the environmental concerns tied to the material as well as the infrastructure and labor involved in its production and distribution are also examined in this study.
This research also tries to compare the cost of Gold relative to other similar commodities in the market such as silver, bronze and diamond among others. However, there is no way we can examine the overall production of gold without mentioning the environmental concerns associated with the overall usage of the material by humans.
Gold has always been regarded as the most valuable commodity in the human history owing to its obvious dazzling beauty as well as the relative scarcity commonly associated with it. Gold can be defined as a naturally occurring commodity of metallic element which is highly reputed for its great economic value and worthiness.
As the most precious metal on earth, the production, usage and distribution of gold is equally significant, and it involves a lot of concern from diverse population across the world (Jenkins 279). There are many societal issues associated with Gold in the various places where the commodity is produced.
Mining of gold, processing and its distribution is observed to have broad social as well as societal benefits for many people in the world. For one, apart from the economical value of the commodity to the global economy, the overall gold industry has continued to offer job opportunities for many people ranging from the work force in the mines to the category of personnel in the entire gold market sector.
Just like any other mineral, the production of gold is quite a complex and hazardous exercise that requires explicit human and machine effort to accomplish. Today, gold can primarily be found in very minimal concentrations of solvents and in this case, the only way of extracting the material existing in such small quantities is by establishing large open pits known as ‘mines’ through blasting where large amounts of ore would be excavated.
As we all know, mining processes have never been safe since pre-historic times and they would be observed to create a potential environmental threat both in the course of the mining exercise and even after the exercise has been accomplished. Some of the most common risks in gold production is the blasting exercise and the poor disposal of cyanide; a toxic solution used in dissolving and extraction of gold.
The biggest environmental concern in the production of the commodity would be the disposal of the overburden stuff removed from the mine zones or pits.
However, the current observation of the ‘Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act’ requires all gold miners to observe a number of measures in ensuring that humans, wildlife and the environment are protected from the exposure of hazardous components from gold mines. Various mining operations in the U.S. and other countries have taken extra precautions in accommodating cyanide solution in special pads that are lined with plastic membranes to avoid leaching (Kesler 67).
Cyanide waste is also treated through various processes such as photodegredation, oxidation and hydrolysis. These processes would facilitate the complete breakdown of the harmful chemical thus minimizing its hazardous effects to people and the general environment. More importantly, cyanide can also be recycled for reuse and this would greatly take care of the harmful toxics associated with it.
Apart from the various environmental issues mentioned in this research which may be associated with gold production, there are other major social issues as well attached to the overall practice of gold production. The exercise of extracting the commodity from the underground is observed to have caused inexplicable problems to masses all over the world.
Communities have been displaced and their traditional livelihoods spoiled as people are evacuated from their homes and lands to create space for more responsible mining fields. However, it is this severity of the social as well as the environmental issues associated with the production of the mineral that has generated a big concern from the global authorities leading to interventions of governments in the moneyed industry of gold.
This really explains the reason why governments are observed to own the largest gold mines in most of the largest global producers of the commodity such as China, Russian and Australia. This has resulted into exaggerated politics in the gold mining industry making it one of the most corrupt sectors in the world.
As I mentioned earlier in this essay, the production of this precious metal is a complex and costly exercise which involves many hazardous processes. Human labor, diesel fuel, machinery, electricity, and explosives, just to mention but a few are some of the necessities required to bring gold into our markets right from the soil where it is extracted.
This must be enough to explain the levels of extravagancy associated with the mineral’s production no wonder its great worthiness and value compared with other similar materials. Even though its market prices keeps on fluctuating constantly, gold is arguably one of the most expensive commodities on earth and for thus, its price has remained relatively high to that of most physical things based on a per weight basis.
According to Frank and Stengos, gold is extremely more expensive compared to other similar commodities in the market such as silver, diamond, and bronze (553). However, the high demand and the great value of gold in the commodity market has been as a result of not only its practical applications in various sectors of life but more as its significant role as a store of value and as an investment.
The overall production of gold however, has been surrounded by a big controversy regarding the cost of production labor compared to where and how the commodity is used in the contemporary world. Issues have been raised that cheap labor is used for the production of gold when compared to its final value and abundant usage in numerous ways.
Personally, I tend to agree with this observation; what the people in the gold mining industry, especially the miners get for their hazardous work is very dismal compared to what the commodity fetches out there in the markets. Gold, just like soil is observed to be everywhere and currently, there are many countries producing the commodity to cater for the global consumers.
Gold is not rare, but what makes it rare is its high value and worthiness compared with other minerals; the two qualities which make it a preserve only for the rich in the society. In this regard, there are no any concerns about limited supply of the commodity. All the same, no one can foretell an increase in its cost. In fact what we expect to see is further fluctuation of gold prices as a result of increased production and supply.
Gold is indeed among the few elements on earth known to be chemically stable. This makes it resistant to any chemical changes that might physically spoil its surface and for this reason, it has found use in diverse sectors of life. The only environment risk associated with gold production would be in the mining process where cyanide solution is applied to facilitate its extraction (Strelow 116).
Chemically, gold is less reactive than most similar elements of its nature. It also does possess high luster as well as higher melting points compared with other metals. Pure gold is observed to be non-toxic and would cause no irritations when ingested by humans. More significantly, gold is a noble metal and this explains its user-friendly nature to humans since it does not react with other substances and neither is it flammable.
Another notable advantage of gold is its recyclability nature and this would guarantee for an eco-friendly products of gold, all coming in exclusive high quality. It is also another way of giving the customers a value for their money out of the used products. owing to its outstanding economical value, gold would previously be used as a form of currency before it would be transformed into a common industrial as well as investment commodity of all times by many nations in the world.
As observed in the findings of this research, the production and distribution of gold has diverse societal and social benefits to people across the world. Big environmental concerns are constantly administered to ensure that human as well as animal health and safety is well-taken care of. Gold is widely used in our world owing to its nature and value and this would progressively serve as a form of employment for many people in the entire gold industry.
Out of this research, we have got to see the value of gold compared to other similar materials. Some of the social, economic and environmental issues associated with the gold industry have been given much concern in this study. More importantly, there is also a discussion about the broader range of problems that would be associated with the hazardous activity of extracting the commodity from the mines.
This research has also examined the politics and propaganda surrounding the gold mining industry as investors and governments take significant roles in the control of this moneyed sector. Finally, out of this study we get to learn the nature of gold as a recyclable non-toxic element. All these qualities are enough to make the commodity and its products user-friendly to humans. Finished products of gold are safe and healthy for our lives and for this reason everybody would like it.
Frank, Murray. & Stengos, Thanasis. “Measuring the strangeness of gold and silver rates of return.” The Review of Economic Studies 56. 4 (2009):553. Print.
Jenkins, Heledd. “Corporate social responsibility in the mining industry: Exploring trends in social and environmental disclosure.” Journal of Cleaner Production 14. 3-4 (2006): 271-284. Print.
Kesler, Stephen. Mineral resources, economics, and the environment. New York: Macmillan New York, 1994. Print.
Strelow, Feast. “Determination of Gold in Cyanide Waste Solutions by Solvent Extraction
and Atomic Absorption Spectrometry.” Analytical Chemistry 38. 1 (1996): 115 – 117. Print.