There's Gold In Them Thar Sewage Plants A sewage treatment plant in Japan has turned out to be a gold mine — literally. Officials say they've retrieved nearly 2 kilograms of gold per metric ton of ash from the sludge they incinerate. That's almost 50 times what miners find in Japan's Hishikari Mine — one of the world's top gold mines. Plant officials believe they're getting so much gold because of manufacturers in the area that use the precious metal in making precision instruments.

There's Gold In Them Thar Sewage Plants

There's Gold In Them Thar Sewage Plants

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/100131849/100131848" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A sewage treatment plant in Japan has turned out to be a gold mine — literally. Officials say they've retrieved nearly 2 kilograms of gold per metric ton of ash from the sludge they incinerate. That's almost 50 times what miners find in Japan's Hishikari Mine — one of the world's top gold mines. Plant officials believe they're getting so much gold because of manufacturers in the area that use the precious metal in making precision instruments.

Related NPR Stories

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. In Japan, a sewage treatment plant has turned out to be a gold mine, literally. Officials say they've retrieved nearly two kilograms of gold per metric ton of ash from the sludge they incinerate. That's almost 50 times what miners find in Japan's Hishikari mine, one of the top gold mines in the world. Plant officials believe they're getting so much gold because manufacturers in the area use the precious metal in making precision instruments.

It's MORNING EDITION.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.