Daniel Wehrle, A Rossland resident and Geologist, led a presentation on Thursday, September 4 at the Rossland Historical Museum, outlining the importance of gold in today’s society. The presentation highlighted the significant uses of gold, its rarity and its influence in historic Rossland.
Prior to 1900, Rossland had the largest gold mine in the world and was considered to be the capital of B.C.. From the 1890s to the 1930s Rossland extracted 84 tonnes of gold, earning its reputation as the “Golden City.”
Apart from its obvious worth, gold is present in many common technologies and appliances we use in our everyday lives. This is due to its unique properties; gold is malleable and it does not tarnish or corrode. As a result, gold is extremely effective when it comes to technological uses. Wehrle informed his audience that gold is a component in our cellphones, airbags, medical equipment, smoke detectors, jet engines and many other mechanisms.
“There is actually gold all around us. We use it all the time, and that’s kind of the point,” Wehrle expressed.
Wehrle helps to spread awareness to emphasize how precious gold is, drawing attention to its medical and health uses and the importance of recycling technologies that contain gold. Pure gold is unreactive biologically, therefore, bacteria can not grow on it. It is used in treating arthritis, in rapid detection diagnoses such as pregnancy tests and in x-rays to identify the placement of diseases such as cancer.
He added, “When you really need it, it’s there for you.”
Using cellphones as an example, Wehrle demonstrated for his audience how we waste this treasured element. He explained of the one billion cell phones that are made annually, 90 per cent are not recycled. This results in 720,000 ounces of gold being put back into the ground.
Wehrle joked, “We spend all that time mining it, and then we put it back in the ground.”
At the rate we are plowing through the world’s recoverable gold, Wehrle predicted that the amount of gold left will only last approximately 20 years, the highest percentage of gold going towards the making of jewelry. Being such an important cultural element in certain countries, such India, the amount of gold we have left is not enough support the current demographics.
Wehrle has been working in gold exploration since he graduated in 1985. His passion has taken him around the world, his most noted and memorable places being Brazil, Northern Canada and of course, Rossland. He expressed his love and appreciation for Rossland and its community and came up with the idea to hold An Ounce of Gold raffle at Golden City Days on Saturday, Sept. 6 as a fundraiser for the Rossland Historical Society.
The prizes include a one-ounce royal Canadian maple leaf gold coin for first place and two silver maple leaf coins for second. Third place won a single silver maple leaf coin. The winners were Kel Neil and Barb Pistak from Rossland and Janet Williams from Trail.