how to use mercury to recover gold. previous next. view larger image. forever and ever, mercury has been used to recover gold, fine gold in particular. when it comes to chemicals replace the plunger and holding the end of the syringe over a container, press the plunger to extract the excess mercury. if the container is filled with water
dissolving gold in mercury we are actually forming an alloy between the gold and the mercury (called an amalgam). but it also is really useful to extract gold from ore. the gold-mercury
the mercury forms an 'amalgam' with the gold (i.e. it bonds to the gold) making it easier to collect from the slurry. the amalgam is heated, the mercury evaporates leaving gold behind. this is a very poor (and dangerous) way to extract gold as it pollutes the environment with toxic mercury.
miners submerged their ore in mercury, which would take on the gold but not the other impurities. the mixture of mercury and gold would then be recollected and heated until the mercury boiled away. a simple still like those used to make alcohol would d away the vaporized mercury, possibly collecting it for reuse, leaving mostly pure gold.
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