Friday, February 19, 2010


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Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au (Latin: aurum, "shining dawn") and an atomic number of 79. It has been a highly sought-after precious metal for coinage, jewelry, and other arts since the beginning of recorded history. The metal occurs as nuggets or grains in rocks, in veins and in alluvial deposits. Gold is dense, soft, shiny and the most malleable and ductile pure metal known.

Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Gold is one of the coinage metals and has served as a symbol of wealth and a store of value throughout history. Gold standards have provided a basis for monetary policies. It also has been linked to a variety of symbolisms and ideologies.

Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals; a single gram can be beaten into a sheet of 1 square meter, or an ounce into 300 square feet. Gold leaf can be beaten thin enough to become translucent. The transmitted light appears greenish blue, because gold strongly reflects yellow and red.[2] Such semi-transparent sheets also strongly reflect infrared light, making them useful as infrared (radiant heat) shields in visors of heat-resistant suits, and in sun-visors for spacesuits.

Gold readily creates alloys with many other metals. These alloys can be produced to modify the hardness and other metallurgical properties, to control melting point or to create exotic colors. Gold is a good conductor of heat and electricity and reflects infrared radiation strongly. Chemically, it is unaffected by air, moisture and most corrosive reagents, and is therefore well-suited for use in coins and jewelry and as a protective coating on other, more reactive, metals. However, it is not chemically inert.

The color of pure gold is metallic yellow. Gold, caesium and copper are the only metallic elements with a natural color other than gray or white.

Gold has been widely used throughout the world as a vehicle for monetary exchange, either by issuance and recognition of gold coins or other bare metal quantities, or through gold-convertible paper instruments by establishing gold standards in which the total value of issued money is represented in a store of gold reserves.

However, the amount of gold in the world is finite and production has not grown in relation to the world's economies. Today, gold mining output is declining. With the sharp growth of economies in the 20th century, and increasing foreign exchange, the world's gold reserves and their trading market have become a small fraction of all markets and fixed exchange rates of currencies to gold became unsustainable.

At the beginning of World War I the warring nations moved to a fractional gold standard, inflating their currencies to finance the war effort. After World War II gold was replaced by a system of convertible currency following the Bretton Woods system. Gold standards and the direct convertibility of currencies to gold have been abandoned by world governments, being replaced by fiat currency in their stead. Switzerland was the last country to tie its currency to gold; it backed 40% of its value until the Swiss joined the International Monetary Fund in 1999.

Pure gold is too soft for day-to-day monetary use and is typically hardened by alloying with copper, silver or other base metals. The gold content of alloys is measured in carats (k). Pure gold is designated as 24k.

Gold has variuos uses amongst which are


Many holders of gold store it in form of bullion coins or bars as a hedge against inflation or other economic disruptions. However, some economists do not believe gold serves as a hedge against inflation or currency depreciation.

Modern bullion coins for investment or collector purposes do not require good mechanical wear properties; they are typically fine gold at 24k, although the American Gold Eagle, the British gold sovereign, and the South African Krugerrand continue to be minted in 22k metal in historical tradition.

The special issue Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin contains the highest purity gold of any bullion coin, at 99.999% or .99999 finess, while the popular issue Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin has a purity of 99.99%. Several other 99.99% pure gold coins are available. The Australian Gold Kangaroos was first coined in 1986 as the Australian Gold Nugget. Its kangaroo theme appeared in 1989. In addition, there are several coins of the Australian Lunar Calendar series, and the Austrian Philharmonic. In 2006, the United States Mint began production of the American Buffalo gold bullion coin with a purity of 99.99%.


Because of the softness of pure (24k) gold, it is usually alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry, altering its hardness and ductility, melting point, color and other properties. Alloys with lower caratage, typically 22k, 18k, 14k or 10k, contain higher percentages of copper, or other base metals or silver or palladium in the alloy. Copper is the most commonly used base metal, yielding a redder color. Eighteen carat gold containing 25% copper is found in antique and Russian jewelry and has a distinct, though not dominant, copper cast, creating rose gold. Fourteen carat gold-copper alloy is nearly identical in color to certain bronze alloys, and both may be used to produce police, as well as other, badges. Blue gold can be made by alloying with iron and purple gold can be made by alloying with aluminium, although rarely done except in specialized jewelry.

Blue gold is more brittle and therefore more difficult to work with when making jewelry. Fourteen and eighteen carat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow and are referred to as green gold. White gold alloys can be made with palladium or nickel. White 18 carat gold containing 17.3% nickel, 5.5% zinc and 2.2% copper is silver in appearance. Nickel is toxic, however, and its release from nickel white gold is controlled by legislation in Europe. Alternative white gold alloys are available based on palladium, silver and other white metals (World Gold Council), but the palladium alloys are more expensive than those using nickel. High-carat white gold alloys are far more resistant to corrosion than are either pure silver or sterling silver. The Japanese craft of Mokume-gane exploits the color contrasts between laminated colored gold alloys to produce decorative wood-grain effects.

In Nigeria,there are proven reserves of both alluvial and primary gold in the schist belt of Nigeria located in the south-western part of the country. Gold Occurs in different form namely gold bar,gold dust ,gold rock and gold dore.Gold can be found in the following states Niger,Osun,Kebbi,Kaduna,Kogi,Kwara,Zamfara,Katsina,Kano and the Federal Capital Territory,Abuja. The deposits are mainly alluvial and are currently being exploited on a small scale and they occur in minute quantity that has to be processed in order to produce gold bar.

Throughout the centuries, gold has been recovered from its ores in many ways.Any method of treating gold ores must take advantage of the natural characteristics of the metal.

The return on investment in the trading and export of gold rock in Nigeria is between 10-15% depending on the quantity of gold contained in the rock sample.

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Report Code: FORA/08/2011/047

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