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Near Cripple Creek, Colorado, gold and tellurium occur mixed as tellurite ore. The refining methods of the early mining camps could not separate the two elements, so the ore was thrown into a scrap heap.

One day a miner mistook a lump of ore for coal and tossed it into his stove. Later, while removing ashes from the stove, he found the bottom littered with beads of pure gold. The heat had burned away the tellurium, leaving the gold in a purified state. The discarded ore was reworked and yielded a...

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