Australia is the world’s second largest producer of mined gold and has the largest reserves (USGS 2018). Gold is a precious metal that generally occurs in its metallic state and is commonly associated with sulphide minerals. The main economically important occurrence of gold minerals is telluride minerals such as calaverite (AuTe2), montbroyite (Au2Te3) and silvanite (AuAgTe4). Gold extraction is performed using a combination of communition, mineral processing, hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurical processes. The route chosen for gold extraction depends on the ore properties and whether the gold is refractory or not.
Although a majority of refined gold is used in jewellery manufacturing, gold contains several advantageous characteristics including superior electric and thermal conductive abilities that allow for usage in the electronics industry.