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British Mint Plans To Extract Pure Gold From Discarded Electronic Devices


October 20, 2021 23:59 GMT

Testing of technology developed by Canadian startup Excir has demonstrated its ability to extract 99.9% purity gold from cell phones and tablets.

The Royal Mint, the UK mint, said Wednesday that it plans to introduce innovative technology to the country to recycle gold from e-waste.

The volume of electronic devices discarded in the world is only growing: in 2021 it reached more than 57 million tons and only a fifth of it end up being recycled, according to estimates. In that context, this new technology will help make “a real impact on one of the world’s greatest environmental challenges,” Royal Mint CEO Anne Jessopp was quoted as saying. BBC.

To carry out the plan, the British mint signed an agreement with the Canadian startup Excir with which it hopes to recover 99% or more of the gold present on the circuit boards of the devices.

The technology developed by Excir allows the precious metal to be extracted at room temperature, so the process will be carried out in a Royal Mint facility and it will not be necessary to send the waste to a smelter.

If nothing is done, the volume of discarded devices in the world will reach 74 million tons by 2030, according to estimates of the international forum for the management of waste electrical and electronic devices (WEEE Forum).

The British mint has already successfully tested the new technology, resulting in 99.9% pure gold and hopes to extract palladium, copper and silver from the devices in the future.