The UK's Royal Mint is using "revolutionary" new tech to recover gold from e-waste

midian182

Posts: 7,306   +65
Staff member
In a nutshell: The UK's coin-producing Royal Mint will soon recycle discarded phones and laptops to extract gold, silver, and other precious metals from the devices using a "revolutionary" world-first technology.

The Royal Mint has partnered with Canadian start-up Excir to use the extraction tech, which is able to recover 99% of the metals found in electronic waste. It said the chemistry selectively targets and extracts precious metals from circuit boards in seconds. The gold can then be melted into ingots and used for Royal Mint products.

The Royal Mint plans to recover the precious metals at room temperature at its main site in Wales, instead of the e-waste piling up in landfills or being sent outside the UK to be processed at high temperatures in smelters. Initial use of the technology has already yielded gold with a purity of 999.9. When fully scaled up, it could potentially recover palladium, silver, and copper, too.

Excir says the process is "an extremely mild and eco-friendly solution that can be recycled with negligible environmental impact." The company recently received about $4.3 million in financial support from a Canadian government-affiliated foundation that funds clean technology, writes the Washington Post.

The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 shows that consumers discarded 53.6 million tonnes worth of electronics in 2019 globally, a 20% increase compared to five years ago, and it's estimated to reach 74 million tonnes by 2030. The value of raw materials in global e-waste generated in 2019 is equal to approximately $57 billion, more than the GDP of most countries in the world, and less than 20% is currently recycled.

The mint's chief executive, Anne Jessopp, said the new technology would help to "make a genuine impact on one of the world's greatest environmental challenges."

Companies such as Apple and Samsung ship their new handsets without chargers and earphones as a way of reducing e-waste, though some question why their phones haven't dropped in price as a result.

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maxxcool7421

Posts: 68   +94
Excir says the process is "an extremely mild and eco-friendly solution that can be recycled with negligible environmental impact."

prove it... im not buying it. sounds like investor fleecing
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,371   +7,178
Great news but not exactly new. DOE has been using similar processes at it's uranium production facilities for decades BUT the scale is much different and that is a precise advantage to the new process ......
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,772   +5,217
Great news but not exactly new. DOE has been using similar processes at it's uranium production facilities for decades BUT the scale is much different and that is a precise advantage to the new process ......
And the photographic industry, when prints/film were made with silver based emulsions, was able to recover silver from "spent fixer."

Given that, I would also say that this is not new, but a re-application of existing chemical processes.
 
White vinigar will do exactly the same. It dissolves the copper on the circuit board and allows the gold and other metals to be removed.
 

mailpup

Posts: 7,702   +783
TS Special Forces
White vinigar will do exactly the same. It dissolves the copper on the circuit board and allows the gold and other metals to be removed.
Both vinegar and pickle juice contain acetic acid which is the active ingredient in dissolving the metals I think.