Gold is a precious metal that has a wide range of applications in electronics and other industries. When electronic products become unusable or obsolete, they are usually disposed of, leading to them being sent to landfills. But now, refiners have discovered a method to draw gold from these discarded electronics, thereby transforming them into a source of revenue.
Section: Process detail
The initial phase of the procedure involves the gathering of e-waste, comprising elderly cell phones, computers, and television sets. The electronic items are then organized and any precious components are taken out. The pieces with gold, like connectors and circuit boards, are then segregated from the other materials.
The next step is to extract the gold from the components. Standard methods for extracting gold from electronic scraps include:
- Physical Separation: This involves separating gold-bearing components from the rest of the electronic waste through hand sorting or using specialized equipment.
- Chemical Leaching: This involves using chemicals, such as cyanide or aqua regia, to dissolve the gold and separate it from other materials. This method is typically used when there is a large amount of gold-bearing material to process.
- Smelting: This involves heating the gold-bearing material to a high temperature, causing the gold to melt and separate from other materials. The gold is then cooled after being poured into moulds.
- Electrolysis: This involves passing an electric current through the gold-bearing material, causing the gold to dissolve and separate from other materials. This method is typically used when there is a small amount of gold to extract.
- Purification: Once the gold has been extracted, it must be purified to remove any impurities, such as copper or silver. This is typically done using chemical treatments or electrolysis.
The choice of method will also depend on factors such as the amount of gold present, the cost of the process, and the environmental impact.
The gold must be cleansed before it can be sold. Any impurities, such as copper, silver, or other metals, are taken out of the gold during the purifying procedure. Several techniques are used to do this, including electrolysis and chemical processes.
Following its purification, gold can be sold to other businesses for usage in a range of goods, including jewellery, electrical parts, and bullion. Gold’s price varies depending on supply and demand, but an ounce of metal usually costs several hundred dollars.
The process of extracting gold from electronics is a lucrative business for refiners. This not only provides a source of revenue but also helps to reduce the amount of electronic waste in landfills.