Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gold Refining

Gold is usually found in mining and excavation projects that turn up the precious metal in nuggets or forms of rock ore with gold mineral (and silver for substance). Gold in its natural form however is unable to be used in production for modern day products. Investments, jewelry, hardware, and electronics, all of which gold is used for, require gold to be in a “refined” form for proper use. There are two main forms of gold refining, the Wohlwill process, and the Miller process.

Wohlwill Process- the Wohlwill process of refining results in high quality gold, but is complex to produce and is usually only involved in small scale operations. This process was invented in 1874 by Emil Wohlwill. The Wohlwill process works by dissolving gold and other metals using a cast-electric process and plating the pure gold alone on a gold cathode. When the metals are dissolved and the gold separated, the cathode is removed and melted to be made ready for use. This process results in 99.999% pure gold melting, and is used for refining in materials such as jewelry, which set standards for the purity of their gold use.

Miller Process- the Miller Process is a chemical procedure involving chlorine gas that produces gold to a 99.95% high degree of quality. Though slightly less pure than the Wohlwill process, the Miller process still produces a extremely high quality of gold and is used in situations where the exact 99.999% purity level of gold is not required or mandated. The process is especially popular for gold use in electronics, where the Miller process benefits by producing gold at high quality and more relative ease then the Wohlwill, as well as quicker turnaround times.

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