Editor's Note: Get caught in minutes with our quick summary of today's most read news and expert reviews that moved the precious metals and financial markets.
(Kitco News) – Australian scientists discovered a new type of sponge that adorns with gold nanoparticles, absorbing it from subsurface deposits.
The discovery, published in Nature Communications journal last week, could be a game switch for miners trying to identify new massive gold deposits hidden underground, according to the author and geomicrobiologist of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) , Tsing Bohu.
"We show fungi, an important driving force for mineral biowetting, can initiate gold oxidation during soil surface condition, which is important for dissolved gold species and distribution," the report said.
The strain of the Fusarium oxysporum fungus, resembling a fluffy pink organism surrounding with gold nanoparticles, was found in Boddington, Western Australia, which lies about 80 miles southeast of Perth.
"Mushrooms can oxidize small gold particles and settle on their threads – this cycle process can contribute to how gold and other elements are distributed around the surface of the earth," Bohu said.
The researchers made the discovery when they experimented with microbes found in western Australia's golden soil.
What makes this sponge unique is its ability to dissolve gold by producing a chemically known as superoxide. After dissolving the metal, the sponge can then reverse the absorbed metal in solid form, reported highlighted.
"We observed the precipitation of gold on the surface of the sponge," Bohu said. "Gold is so chemically inactive that this interaction is both unusual and surprising – it should be seen as believed."
Image Courtesy of CSIRO: Colored image of the gold-plated Fusarium oxsporum mushrooms
The research team will continue to investigate how the sponge is capable of interacting with gold and whether its presence may indicate greater gold deposits below the surface.
"We will understand whether the fungus we studied can be used in combination with these exploration tools to help the industry target potential areas," says CSIRO's principal researcher Ravi Anand.
However, gold prospectors should not come before themselves by traveling to Western Australia in search of new gold deposits based on the location of the fungus, as it can only be seen under a microscope.
Whatever the case, the news could be great for Australia – the world's second largest gold producer, especially because its gold production is expected to decline over the next five years, according to the S&P Global Market Intelligence report published in April.
It is estimated that the mining operation will fall fourth in 2024, surpassed by Canada and Russia.
"Australia's production is expected to decline the most. The current second-largest gold producing nation behind China is expected to fall to fourth place globally in 2024," said S & P Global Market Intelligence analyst Christopher Galbraith.
Disclaimer: The Views in this article is the author's and may not reflect them from Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. is for informational purposes only, and it is not an invitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept liability for loss and / or damage resulting from the use of This publication.