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Mining those veggies for the greens and gold

A New Zealand scientist has developed a way of getting gold from cabbages, news reports said today. But there's a snag - it has to be in the ground first.

Chris Anderson, 26, has been working on the project for years. He is now confident that his system for extracting gold by growing plants like cabbages on old mine tailings (the residue after they have been stripped of their best ore) will prove commercially viable.

He believes he can extract more than a kilogram of gold from a hectare of plants. "It's looking promising in the laboratory but only time in the field will tell," he told The Dominion newspaper.

Anderson, who will graduate as a doctor of philosophy in Earth Science next week, said he discovered the system by accident in September 1997, but had not revealed details to allow Massey University, in Palmerston North, to profit from his research.

He said the ability of plants to extract some metals from the earth by a process called phytomining had been known for many years, but it did not seem to work for gold.

He stumbled on a chemical that could do the trick in the laboratory. "It showed so much gold the measuring machine was stuffed up for a month," he said. "It was a lucky break."

Anderson said plants such as brassicas - cabbages, cauliflowers, swedes and turnips - were the best. They are planted on tailings and when they have reached their maximum biomass the chemical is added to the soil.

This makes the gold soluble for about 10 days. The plants suck it up and then die. The withered plants are dried and then burned to extract the gold.

Anderson now wants to experiment with more cabbages to see if they will extract even more valuable metals such as platinum and palladium. - DPA


Them Kiwis eh? Never did figure 'em out...

Posted to bring enlightenment to Gold's been a bit boring for them lately.

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (, May 12, 2000


Woe to be a cabbage in NZ. Raised up only to be slaughtered by the greedy.

Perhaps the cabbages could be given to homeless shelters, the feces of the cabbage-eaters collected & composted. Then sift the compost to extract the gold and feed the compost back into the soil. Now that's a plan.

Of course, composting toilets would have to be installed in the shelters. Also, the eaters/defecators would need to be escorted into the lavatory (what do NZers call it?) in order to make sure they are defecating & not hording it for themselves.

Can you tell it's Friday?

-- Bingo1 (, May 12, 2000.

Damn, We've just finished eating the last of this seasons cabbages from our garden. Our property is right on top of the old gold grounds, and our wells are down through the alluvial deposits. Still I think a cabbage is worth more to me than 0.01 grams of gold.

-- Malcolm Taylor (, May 13, 2000.


A smart cookie like you has probably thought of this already . . but . . you folks have been EATING all that veggie stuff with all the gold in it. Now supposing your body doesnt metabolise the gold (a fact youd need to check), Id suggest that next year you experiment with a . . ehem . . "waste drying area" . . (yuk, I know, but hey, this is Gold were talkin about) . .some distance from your home, along with a way to burn and extract whatever precious metal might remain. Couple it with a heat-converter and energy storage system, and you could be self-sufficient in heat and energy . . AND get rich while youre at it. Nobody said you couldnt process the veggies first right ?

Dang, I sound like a hardcore prepper and golbug rolled into one. I better go take a shower.

Kindest regards in wry humour.


-- w0lv3r1n3 (, May 13, 2000.

I see you're stealing my idea, which I foolishly posted on a public forum. Is there no justice?

-- Bingo1 (, May 13, 2000.


-- ewtqw (test@test.test), July 07, 2000.

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