[Animation images appear of different types of gold including a sarcophagus, a sphynx, a stack of coins, a gold bar, a champagne flute, jewellery, a calculator, a Smartphone and a laptop]
Narrator: Gold has fascinated the world since ancient times, treasured primarily as a trusted source of wealth, for use in jewellery, to many modern electronics.
[Animation image changes to show gold dots rotating on the screen and then the gold dots gradually morph into a globe of the world with gold dots showing on the various countries]
Today, we’re still learning about our favourite yellow metal, such as how a gold deposit is formed and how it travels around the earth, so that we can come up with much-needed and clever new strategies to find and produce it.
[Camera zooms out a little on the world globe and a magnifying glass appears moving around the rotating world globe]
Geologists from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, are revealing some of gold’s secrets and coming up with innovative ways to search for gold faster, in a more cost-effective way and in ways that reduce impacts to the environment.
[Animation image changes to show a tree in a landscape]
For example, researchers have been looking for nature’s clues at the surface that could be used as evidence to find gold metres below.
[Animation image shows streaks of gold moving up the tree trunk and then a magnifying glass symbol appears over the foliage of the tree showing small gold dots inside the leaves]
CSIRO discovered that trees in the Kalgoorlie region of Western Australia can draw up gold from the earth and deposit it in their leaves
[Animation image moves to the left and streaks of gold appear moving up a termite mound in a group of termite mounds in the landscape on the right]
and that termites can harbour gold in their mounds.
[Animation image continues to move to the left and streaks of gold moving up a pink fungi in a group of fungi appear on the right]
Now in the latest breakthrough, scientists have discovered gold-coated fungi.
[Camera zooms in on the fungi to show gold dots over the surface]
This thread-like fungi lives in soils and zooming in on this organism reveals balls of gold attached to its strands. The gold gets there through an oxidisation process. A surprising discovery given gold is so chemically inactive. The fungi dissolves and precipitates particles of gold from their surroundings and then attaches it to their strands.
[Camera zooms out to show the gold streaks moving up the pink fungi in a group of fungi and then the image shows the pink fungi growing taller than the other fungi and then more pink fungi popping up]
And interestingly, there appears to be a biological advantage in doing so as the gold-coated fungi have been found to grow larger and spread faster than those that don’t interact with gold.
[Camera gradually zooms out and more coloured fungi appear growing around the pink fungi]
They also play a central role in a biodiverse soil community, meaning the gold-coated fungi play host to a more diverse range of other fungi when compared to those that don’t.
[Animation image changes to show a rotating world globe showing gold dots over the various continents]
This is the first evidence that fungi may play a role in the cycling of gold around the earth’s surface.
[Animation image changes to show layers of soil containing gold dots beneath a blue fungi which is drawing streaks of gold up into the stem from the layers of soil]
Research continues to understand whether or not the gold-coated fungi could be linked to a gold deposit below the surface.
[Image changes to show the CSIRO logo on a dark blue screen]
At CSIRO, we’re solving the greatest challenges through science and innovation. Our mineral exploration research, is leading to new tools for more sustainable exploration and production of gold for future generations.