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Turning Electronic Waste Into Gold: The Royal Mint's World First Sustainable Precious Metal Tech

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 Posted 10/22/2021  2:02 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CCFPress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
The Royal Mint - Pioneering new technology will enable The Royal Mint to recover precious metals from discarded electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops. Provides a source of high-quality precious metals while offering a solution to significant and growing environmental challenges. Forms part of The Royal Mint's reinvention and helps secure a future as a leader in sustainably sourced precious metals and the circular economy of the UK.

The Royal Mint has signed an agreement with Canadian clean tech start up Excir to introduce a world first technology to the UK, which will enable it to safely retrieve and recycle gold and other precious metals from electronic waste.

Excir's patented technology, based on revolutionary chemistry, recovers 99%+ of gold from electronic waste, contained within the circuit boards of discarded laptops and mobile phones. The chemistry selectively targets and extracts precious metals from circuit boards in seconds - offering a new solution to the world's fastest-growing waste stream.

Each year, more than 50 million tonnes of electronic waste is produced globally, equivalent in weight to 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2. If nothing is done, this is set to reach 74 million tonnes by 2030 - almost a doubling of tonnage in a decade[1].

Less than 20% of electronic waste is currently recycled world-wide. This means that gold, silver, copper, palladium, and other highly valued metals conservatively valued at US $57 billion - a sum greater than the gross domestic product of most countries - are mostly discarded as opposed to being collected for treatment and reuse[2].

Scientists and engineers at The Royal Mint are now working to grow the innovative technology from laboratory scale to mass production. Instead of electronic waste leaving UK shores to be processed at high temperatures in smelters, the approach will see precious metals recovered at room temperature at The Royal Mint's site in South Wales. Initial use of the technology at The Royal Mint has already produced gold with a purity of 999.9, and when fully scaled up, the process has potential to also recover palladium, silver and copper.

Embracing the principles of a circular economy, The Royal Mint and Excir technology has the potential to ensure electronic waste is handled in a controlled and regulated manner - preserving natural resources for longer, helping to reduce the environmental impact of e-waste and fostering new skills and employment in the UK.


Anne Jessopp, Chief Executive, The Royal Mint, said: "We are immensely proud to partner with Excir to bring this world first technology to the UK. It provides us the opportunity to make a genuine impact on one of the world's greatest environmental challenges while helping to secure our future as a leader in high quality, sustainable precious metals.

"This partnership represents a significant milestone for The Royal Mint as we reinvent for the future as the home of precious metals in the UK. The potential of this technology is huge - reducing the impact of electronic waste, preserving precious commodities, and forging new skills which help drive a circular economy."

Jim Fox, Chief Executive Officer of Excir, said: "The team at Excir feel extremely fortunate to be working alongside The Royal Mint to scale Excir's patented technology from laboratory to mass production over the coming years. Their 1,100 years of expertise in precious metals and innovation, coupled with a desire to foster new skills and benefit the environment, made them the ideal partner for us."

Sean Millard, Chief Growth Officer at The Royal Mint, comments: " The Royal Mint has thrived for over 1,100 years thanks to our entrepreneurial spirit, and the Excir technology complements our ambition to be a leader in sustainable precious metals. The chemistry is revolutionary and capable of recovering precious metals from electronic devices in seconds. It offers huge potential for The Royal Mint and the circular economy - helping to reuse our planet's precious resources and creating new skills in the UK."

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 Posted 06/18/2022  7:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add flanders8008 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have a couple of old ghetto blasters kicking around the house....I wonder how hard it would be to strip the good stuff out of them...
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 Posted 07/01/2022  12:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jaobler to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sounds like an excellent, win-win development for The Royal Mint and anyone else who can adapt the process.

I can recover gold from electronic components given an unlimited supply of chemicals, but to do it economically is the challenge.
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 Posted 07/01/2022  01:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add LuckyPunk to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
"I have a couple of old ghetto blasters kicking around the house....I wonder how hard it would be to strip the good stuff out of them..."

Ouch! This is my area of expertise...old radios,especially 80's boomboxes. Please let me know what you have before trying to gut a box for any reason. Silver,square corners,someone probably wants it,knobs can be worth $.
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 Posted 07/01/2022  03:10 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
People have pointed out that our generation is really the first civilization that the world has ever seen, that actually "consumes" gold, in terms of placing it into things from which it cannot be readily recovered and thus ends up getting put back into the earth as landfill. Everyone else prior to us has always "used" gold in the form of jewellery and coins, from which it can readily be converted back into raw pure gold again if need be.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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 Posted 07/01/2022  2:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumisEd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
We use gold to make ohmic contacts on our semiconductor devices. Of course, the gold is just a small part of the device and its cost.
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