Monday, 8 October 2012

The precious metals we prefer to ignore

Precious Metals ’12 is only 5 weeks away, and the excellent technical programme is sure to promote much discussion. None more so than a quirky paper by Prof. Jannie van Deventer of the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Modern metallurgists quantify precious metals through spectroscopic analysis of solid and solution samples and use this as a method to follow the reaction pathway of extraction processes. If spectroscopy does not show up gold or platinum, then clearly it does not exist, but if physical precious metal is recovered, the outcome is dismissed as an error or fraud, because precious metal cannot be created.

Prof. van Deventer asks “What would happen if precious metals have a distorted valence electron structure not yet studied by science?” Such species will not mimic the usual chemical reactions of normal precious metals, they may not even behave like metals, and they will not be detectable by spectroscopy. They will certainly not be studied, as no tenure track academic could afford such controversy.

Prof. van Deventer will review some of the pseudo-science available on this subject, present his own observations, and conclude that there is sufficient evidence to stimulate further research. He freely admits that his arguments have not been subjected to peer review and without substantial research will not withstand a peer review process. Many of the ideas are so far-fetched that they are considered as lunacy and contravening the laws of nature by main stream metallurgists and scientists. Consequently, they are unlikely to be investigated with scientific rigour by the research community, and they will not attract funding by competitive grant agencies or companies. It is politically easier to outright reject them rather than risk one’s hard earned reputation to even suggest that they are worthy of research. There is little chance that the management of a major precious metals company or any university will investigate this field of non-assayable ores.

What is required is a combination of strong fundamental research in fundamental aspects of physics and chemistry, coupled with applied research trying to reproduce some of the anomalous observations by non-main stream people who have been active in this field. Although the in-bred sceptical mind of the true scientist is always necessary, an open mind is a prerequisite for making progress in this field, otherwise prejudice will prevail over sensory observation. In today’s world of modern chemistry there is an attitude of ‘if we cannot measure something it does not exist.’ In contrast, in a past era of pre-spectroscopy chemistry, sensory observation by chemists played a key role in making progress and reporting findings to colleagues. In today’s culture of peer-review, unquantified and subjective sensory observations by a researcher are viewed as inferior and not true science. It is contended by Prof. van Deventer that progress in recovering precious metals from non-assayable ores is possible only when a scientist is able to forsake spectroscopy for sensory observation. The ultimate judge will be whether or not actual precious metal is recovered from a non-assayable ore.


  1. Good to see this paper has been peer-reviewed and published in Minerals Engineering

  2. there exist complex gold that will not assay by standard assay procedures. To view the gold complex . Grind a sample that has rusty iron oxide that is considered to be waste in any mine. Take the sample and grind it in a disk grinder. The sample may respond to grinding only one pass through grinder but sending it 3 or 4 times is better. If you pan this fine ground sample and look at the concentrated heavies with a 40 power microscope, you will see grey metal in the form of round spheres and small looking logs. The grey metal has a hardness between mercury and lead. No this metal will not assay but the gold is in this unknown complex. Thank you

    1. Yes this complex gold is being converted to the metallic form by nature very slowly every day. I know of a few methods that work in liberating the gold but the would be experts kill all the information that is out there that could be shared because of there negative minds. I have witnessed mercury form from a grey looking gel. Dissolving this mercury will yield small pyramid crystals and dendritic crystals of gold. How many other metals are locked up in this type complex. Remember the world is not flat and you will not fall off.


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