Here's How Much Undiscovered Gold Is In The Ocean

In 1872, British chemist Edward Sonstadt discovered that gold can be found in seawater, per Thought Co. If you're wondering why an underwater Gold Rush never happened, that's because the gold in seawater can't be obtained as easily as panning for it. Gold in seawater is so diluted that there is only about a gram of gold for every 100 million metric tons of ocean water according to the National Ocean Service. There are also gold pieces on the ocean floor that are undissolved but are hidden in rocks and must be mined. However, technology hasn't gone as far as providing a practical way on how to do it.

Since Sonstadt's discovery, many people have attempted to mine gold from seawater whether for further research or personal gain. However, no one has been successfully mined anything worth a fortune, but developments are underway. Per Global Bullion Suppliers, the Chinese, being the largest gold producers, are developing the boats and machinery to be able to do underwater mining.

How much gold is available to be mined?

Scientists have calculated the approximate amount of gold available for the taking in the ocean. The process involves taking samples and detecting the trace amounts of gold before the calculation can even begin. There are also sediments and other elements that must be sifted through in order to come up with the amount of gold present. To measure the amount of gold, per Thought Co., there are two techniques that can be done — inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and atomic absorption spectroscopy. Different studies have had varying results, but based on reports, the ocean holds a whopping 20 million tons of gold, as reported by Forbes. It has also been said, according to National Geographic, that the amount of gold on the ocean floor is enough to give each person in the world nine pounds of the coveted element.

Mining for gold is not an easy feat. One of the options is to use of remotely operated vehicles (ROV) that would do the actual mining, but the problem is that ROVs could only hold a certain amount of weight and it would be too time-consuming. There are also proposals to bring the rocks to the surface using a belt of sorts and do the mining on land. There are plenty of experiments and efforts from different groups to attempt ocean gold mining, and as technology advances, the possibility of it happening increases.