Gold is an unusual metal in that it predominantly exists in the Earth’s crust as the element (so-called ‘native’ gold); that is, it’s not chemically combined with other elements. Silver and copper are the only other metals naturally found in their elemental form.

Gold is a relatively rare element, making up only 0.000 000 4% of the Earth’s crust (by mass). You would need at least 250 twenty-tonne trucks full of the earth in order to recover just 20g of gold; that’s a cube of gold with approximately 1cm sides. Gold is valuable simply because it’s scarce and difficult to extract.

However, gold is by no means the scarcest or even the most expensive metal. The current price of gold (October 2002 prices) is $322 per troy ounce, compared with platinum at $566, and rhodium at $690.

Add your comment!