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Gold, with the chemical symbol AU derived from the Latin word for gold- Aurum, has been the ultimate symbol of wealth from earliest civilizations to present, covering a period of some 8000 years. Historically used for jewellery, it has also acted as a base for global monetary reserves. It offers security foremost, then liquidity and income.
Gold usually occurs only in its metallic state. It is commonly associated with sulphide minerals such as pyrite, but it does not form a separate sulphide mineral. Gold is found in a variety of environments globally but generally requires grades in excess of 1 gram/tonne (1 part per million) to be considered economic. Gold can be found in primary ore deposits as fine disseminations throughout the host rock or as concentrations caused by favourable chemical and structural environments. Weathering of these primary ores can produce secondary gold concentrations, often as alluvial gold occurrences (sometimes called placer gold).
The process of exploration for gold deposits involves the following stages