JOHN MEAD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN MEAD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gold mine. A mechanical digger fills a dumper truck with excavated rubble in an open cast gold mine. Open cast mining involves stripping away the surface soil and exploiting the exposed rock layers beneath. Gold has been one of the most sought after metals since antiquity, much of its value stemming from its inert chemical nature - it is highly resistant to corrosion by acid, alkali and air. Its rarity and colour make it a valuable raw material for jewellery. Photographed in Australia.
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