Pioneering new technology will enable The Royal Mint to recover precious metals from discarded electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops.
The Royal Mint, the historic producer of coins for the UK and other countries, has signed an agreement with Canadian cleantech startup 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 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.
Less than 20% of electronic waste is currently recycled worldwide. 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.