How Eucalyptus Trees Can Help Miners

Australia has long been famous for its gold mining industry and record-setting nuggets. Now, Australians also have a cool new prospecting technique that they can use to find gold deposits deep underground.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) recently found that eucalyptus trees are able to draw gold up through their roots and into their leaves and bark. However, this doesn’t mean there will be a sudden “eucalyptus rush” where prospectors are chopping down trees for gold. The trees shed their leaves and bark long before a worthwhile amount of gold accumulates in them. CSIRO geochemist Mel Lintern claims that "If you had 500 eucalypt trees growing over a gold deposit, they would only have enough gold in there to make a wedding ring.’’

Still, the discovery is very useful to Australia’s domestic mining industry. Analyzing the leaves of eucalyptus trees for particles of gold could be a much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly way of finding new gold ore deposits. But, since eucalyptus trees are the only known plant in the world to absorb gold deposits naturally, such a prospecting technique may not become popular in other parts of the world.

How Platinum Improves OLED Technology

The technology behind everyday lighting has advanced rapidly – from incandescent, to CFL, to LED. The next advancement – OLEDs still have a long way to go before they become totally ubiquitous. Although many mobile devices and televisions use OLED technology, it still has too many disadvantages to use for central lighting. But thanks to a recent discovery using platinum, OLED technology has advanced significantly.

Unlike LEDs which use crystal semiconductors to produce light, OLEDs use polymer chains that glow when they are stimulated with an electrical current. However, they cannot create white light on their own – at least not without complex and expensive engineering. The common trick engineers use to get OLEDs to project white light is by making them combine red, green, and blue light. Of course, the extra lights mean that more energy is used.

Professor Valy Vardeny of the University of Utah and colleagues have created a new formula of OLED polymer that uses platinum atoms to create white light more easily. Usually, polymers have two electronic states – single and triplet. When the polymer is stimulated, it enters the singlet state and emits blue light. But, stimulating the polymer into a triplet state to create the other colors of light in the spectrum is more difficult. Vardeny’s new platinum-incorporating polymer is much easier to get into a triplet state – making color mixtures and energy transfers unnecessary for creating white light.

In simpler terms: if blue, red, and green OLEDs represent a computer, telephone, and camera, then an OLED made with this new polymer is a smartphone – combining the features of all three.

Once again, precious metals are contributing to green technology to make the world a better place.

Gold Prices Start Out Strong for 2014

After a record setting price in August 2011, gold saw its big percentage drop in 13 years in 2013. However, 2014 is shaping up to be a much different story. On February 11, gold was trading above its 200-day moving average (DMA).

It’s pretty interesting because gold has only traded below its 200-day moving average for more then a year, only four other times.

You can see the price trends for yourself on our historical gold price charts.

A “moving average” is the average price of a commodity over a set amount of time. It can be calculated by taking the sum of all of the past daily closing prices and dividing the result by the number of prices included in the calculation. Since gold is trading for a higher price than its 200-DMA, that means that the average price of gold for the past 200 days is lower than what its trading at presently. Security traders and financial analysts use moving averages to predict pricing trends. And, since gold is beating its 200-DMA right now, many analysts are predicting that gold prices are going to make a big comeback!

Since the price of gold has increased by about 10% since the beginning of this year, a comeback seems entirely plausible. Download our precious metal prices app (available for IOS and Android) to keep an eye on the very latest prices and set alerts so you can find the right time to sell.