backtop


Print 59 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on May 2 at 6:49 PM

Old cell phones worth more ton for ton than a gold mine

A process called “urban mining” may have many rethinking simply throwing their old electronics into the trash can or tossing them into the junk drawer to collect dust. The so-called urban mining describes a process where old electronics like computers and cell phones are scavenged and ripped apart for their base metals like iridium and gold.

With metal prices hitting all time highs around the world, the urban mining business is booming. The metals recovered from the process are reused in new electronic devices and the gold and other precious metals are melted into ingots that can be used to create jewelry or used to create new electronic devices.

Gold is common in many electronic devices and components for its ability to better transfer electricity than copper. Tadahiko Sekigawa, president of Eco-System Recycling Co. told Reuters, “It can be precious or minor metals, we want to recycle whatever we can.”

It might not seem like there would be enough gold or other precious metals inside obsolete electronics to warrant the effort of recycling. On the contrary, used electronic devices are often a much better source of gold than actually having a small gold mine.

According to Reuters a ton of ore form a gold mine produces only 5 grams of gold on average. A ton of used cell phones can yield 150 grams of gold or more. In addition to the gold the same volume of discarded phones can have 220 pounds of copper and 6.6 pounds of silver as well as other metals.

The price of gold alone hit an all time high in March 2008 of $1,030.80 per ounce. One Eco-Systems recycling plant in Honjo, Japan produces around 440 to 660 pounds of gold bars per month with 99.99% purity. This amount of gold has a worth of about $5.9 to $8.8 million on today’s market. That's literally the same output as a small gold mine.

When the amount of money that can be made from recycling old electronic components for their base metals is taken into consideration it is easy to understand why Clover Technologies Group, the winner of the contract with the USPS for its mail-in recycling project, was willing to foot the bill for shipping. The amount of money also makes the fact that America ships tons of used electronics overseas each year look like American’s are doing someone a favor.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Analog/Digital
By emenon1 on 4/30/2008 9:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
Just to clarify on the analog vs. digital. Typically digital signals are sent using an analog carrier signal. The digital data is modulated onto the carrier, then becoming something of a hybrid. Think of it as a train, the train being your analog carrier and the cargo being the digital signal. Ultimately everything is transmitted via analog.




RE: Analog/Digital
By Yocal on 5/1/2008 4:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, I always thought the cable company sent a bunch of zeros and ones into the copper. Each company had a different sequence. IE: Comcast; 001100011100 and Time Warner; 110010011100 and so on. And each end piece of equip in the cust house could decode the signal. There is no such thing as analog


RE: Analog/Digital
By emenon1 on 5/1/2008 7:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
Well yes, you're on the right track. Those 1's and 0's or digital data are modulated onto the analog carrier. The digital is where your information is but it needs a means of transport which is analog.

As for the sequences used by the cable companies I think you're referring to encryption they use to prevent theft.

And as for analog not existing, everything to do with our existence is analog. Digital is nothing more than a translation of analog into another form and visa-versa. In its simplest form digital is on and off, analog is on, off and everything in between on and off.


RE: Analog/Digital
By Yocal on 5/1/2008 8:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
But what about digital voice and internet. Your saying that starts out as as an analog signal? And stuff like on demand and pay per view?


"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki