The humble Australian termite strikes gold

The unassuming Australian termite is no longer considered a pest. In fact, these days, the termite is lauded for its treasure hunting abilities. Because the clever critter digs up soil samples from the deepest depths of the earth, miners no longer need to drill for gold.

Geoscientists have claimed that no longer will miners have to harm the environment in order to look for precious metals. As one geoscientist put it, the termites can travel to 30 metres down in search of soil, and whenthey return, bring all manner of minerals with them.

The Geological Society of Australia’s Anna Petts has been studying termites with the assistance of geoscientists from the Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape, Environment and Mineral Exploration and Geoscience Australia and has found that though it may be difficult for humans to get to the bedrock of some Australian regions, it is easy for termites. Mining companies often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do their preliminary drilling, and sometimes come up empty handed, but because termites bring these subterranean soils up anyway, geologists can determine whether gold, diamonds or other minerals are present in their mounds, and thus assess the area that way.

This makes treasure hunting a lot cheaper and a lot more simple for scientists, and should a termite’s mound reveal the presence of minerals, the earth surrounding the mound can be explored further. It seems that this process is nothing new for those living in Africa. Villagers it seems, have been using this system since ancient times, often uncovering gold nuggets as big as a centimetre in diameter, or discovering the presence of diamond mines.

For the researchers in Australia, the challenge has come in doscovering whether their termites work in the same way. And it seems they do. Termite mounds are often made of a mixture of soil, saliva, water, faeces and plants with a tough outer wall and a hollow interior, which the termites use as their entry and exit points. They also store food in their mounds and even farm some types of fungus.

The research is currently underway in Western Australia, in the Tanami Desert, and in the Northern Territory at the Titania Prospect. Will termite mining ventures take off? Well, some Australian mining companies have already expressed an interest in these methods. Thus, the research is well worth the time and expense. We also have the facilities to check your gold for its purity. Sell gold at Pawn Shop Johannesburg