Mercury and Gold from Graphite ? Safe Handling?

BentFunky

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Jun 29, 2020
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I crushed up and panned a small sample of graphite. Was happy to find some electrum, since there is a good amount of graphite around.

I also noticed what appears to be a small globule of gold colored mercury rolling around in my gold pan. I?m old enough to remember playing with mercury in science class as a kid.

Finding mercury was unexpected, to say the least. However, according mindat.org, mercury and graphite can be found together.

Before crushing more graphite, I need to better understand how to handle/remove/dispose of mercury safely. Can someone point me to some info online?
 
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mikep691

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Aug 6, 2015
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Keep it in water. It won't heat up and turn to vaper. Build, or buy a retort to safely remove the mercury from amalgem (sp).You Tube vids can help in making a retort.
 

arizau

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Your or a nearby city has facility to handle all "hazardous" materials... give them a call to see what to do with what you accumulate over time. If you have amalgam and extract the gold from it by some method you will still have to deal with the leftover "hazardous" material(s).
 
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BentFunky

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Jun 29, 2020
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I believe that @mikep691's suggested use of a retort would allow me to separate precious metals from the mercy.

Samples of additional pieces of graphite showed what appears to be quite a lot of mercury. Unless I find really rich samples, my inclination is to leave it in the ground.

Definitely, one of the weirdest things I've seen. Up until now, I assumed that mercury would be found bound up in sulfides or some other compound.

Edit: Funny anecdote... the graphite in this area sets off my metal detector like crazy. I assumed that graphite must be a variety of hot rock. (I have extremely limited detecting experience.)

Now, I'm wondering if mercury in the graphite was responsible.
 
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