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Gold nuggets and Mercury


#1

I just did a trade for gold nuggets, the miner told me that they run
into a lot of mercury that was left over from the good old days :frowning: I
see small areas that I am concerned may be trace amounts of mercury .
I would like to overlay these nuggets onto 14k, but I would like to
safely remove any traces of mercury first. I am thinking 10% nitric
and h2o . Does that sound right?, and does anyone have any experience
with dirty nuggets? It also seems the mercury could cause contamination
in the work shop? Michael


#2

Hi: I go to the Cascade and hunt for gold… there is a lot of mercury
still left over from the past… the way we deal with it here is to
take it outside in a cast iron pan and stand upwind with a butane
torch and heat it till it is yellow again… caution…do not breath
the fumes or you could end up mad as a hatter…ringman john
henry p.s. don’t handle it with your hands it can still
contaminate…


#3
the miner told me that they run into a lot of mercury that was left
over from the good old > days... I would like to  safely remove any
traces of mercury first. I am thinking  10% nitric and h2o . 

G’day; warm dilute nitric acid will dissolve mercury and will not
dissolve gold, although it may react with some of the alloying
elements in nuggets. Another method is to heat the nuggets to just
below dull red heat IN THE OPEN, or in an EFFICIENT fume hood. This
should be followed by placing the nuggets in a warm pickle,
preferably in a little plastic cup immersed in water in an ultrasonic
bath. My wife used to work in a University undergrad lab, and
occasionally got her 9ct (all I could afford in those days!) wedding
ring contaminated with mercury. The heat and pickle treatment fixed it
though. – john Burgess