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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.

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