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Street cleaners search waste for precious metals
Cleanzine has, over the past 11 years, occasionally carried news about cleaners having inadvertently thrown away priceless works of art, or finding vast amounts of money left lying around, which they've then handed back to the owner.
This time however, a street cleaning company is deliberately sifting through the rubbish it collects in the hope that it will find precious metals.
Yes - Veolia Environmental Services has announced that its staff will sift through its street sweepings in search of fragments of gold and silver, which, it says, can rub off jewellery, shoes and clothing. They will also be searching for traces of palladium, platinum and rhodium, which are used in cars' catalytic converters and can subsequently be emitted from the exhaust pipes.
Veolia, which sweeps up 165,000 tons of rubbish from the street every year, has announced that it has set up Britain's first plant to mine for metal.
Richard Kirkman, the firm's technical director, told the Sunday Telegraph: "In the past we have always sent our street sweeping to landfill or compost sites.
"We wanted to find something to do with this material, so we are separating everything out with flotation tanks and mechanical sorting machines.
"We are left with this fine black dust and we have found palladium, rhodium and platinum at levels they are found in the ore when it is mined from the ground."
Veolia holds cleaning contracts in some 40 towns and cities and it believes it can find up to 1.3 tons of palladium, 1.5 tons of platinum and 0.8 tons of rhodium every year.
18th July 2013