in Vol. 10 - January Issue - Year 2009
The Quiet Crisis Currency And Its Good Vibes
Gold-silver treatment plant
Coin blank finishing installation
Almost through any "ages" of the world there has been a currency which was accepted worldwide and has never lost its value. That currency is gold. At the same time natural products like oil and silver also could be mentioned, but they have never reached the status of gold.
Gold really does not need a specific value of exchange rate. Every "little child on earth" knows that owning gold goes along with the feeling of being rich and wearing gold goes along with being "pretty".
Since the very early ages of mankind people have been using gold as a currency for payments.
Today’s gold production or gold mining is worth 2.600 tons per year. 40 % of this volume comes from South-Africa, USA, Australia and Russia and is a hundred times more than in the 19th century.
The occurrence of gold in Europe is relatively low. Rumania has one of the biggest gold mines but stopped its production in 2007, but due to the current crisis this gold mine in Slata is being considered for a production recommitment.
Washing gold or panning for gold is one of the most well known procedures to get gold out of rivers. That romantic method is shown in many western movies of the gold old times.
The term washing is leading this article into the surface finishing technology. The first washing to receive gold of course has nothing to do with surface finishing and surface finishing of gold was not considered during the time when gold was used as a currency in Germany during the first world war.
Before 1973 in the US and before 2003 in China it was prohibited for private people to own gold.
In 1980 for the first time the surface finishing industry got involved due to the high demand of gold to be bought by private people. The demand has risen due to the conflict of Iran and the Soviet Union "marching" into Afghanistan.
At this stage many one ounce blanks or coins and one ounce bars were produced and needed a specific surface preparation to be economically struck in high values. Without the surface finishing the die-life-time of the presses were of such a short term, that it raised the costs to produce the bars and the coins economically.
The second "big push" of this demand was felt in 2007 and specifically now with the crisis in 2008.
People seemed to collect far more gold and silver as they save as a backup against the financial crisis worldwide.
Due to this collection panic the demand of surface finishing equipment and the performance of the surface finishing equipment have developed dramatically. Within a very short period of time of only 2 years the surface finishing industry developed equipment which is able to produce precious metal blanks, ready to strike, in a condition where no further cleaning after the surface finishing is required.
These fully automated processes are established by using specific acids to give the gold and silver their specific look.
Fully PLC control systems have nothing to do with the systems which were offered during the 1980s.
The technology has been developed within the last 12 months in such a way that the whole surface finishing procedure and its used acids and water will be totally recycled.
Every little flitter of gold and silver is caught. The waste water stream and even the waste water with dissolved gold and silver will be treated in a way that the remaining waste water cake will be reused in refineries.
Ironically the financial crisis has left space for some companies which have been involved in this specific field of a niche business.
The systems of that new design are currently delivered worldwide to India, Russia, Mexico, South Africa, Australia and to all other countries where silver and gold mines are in operation.
Having not the greatest reserves for gold and silver it seems that Europe and Germany have a great reserve of high standard surface finishing technology.
by Thomas Hogenkamp
Contributing Editor MFN and Sales Director, Spaleck Oberflächentechnik GmbH
Tel. + 49.2871 9500 53