Royal Mint to recycle gold found in mobiles and laptops to reduce e-waste

Credit: PA images

The Royal Mint is aiming to do its bit for the environment by recycling precious metals found in electronics.

The coin-maker, which is based in Llantrisant in South Wales, will use technology to retrieve gold, silver, copper and palladium from electronic waste found within mobile phones and laptops.

The UK Government-owned company has signed a deal with Canadian start-up Excir to use the world's first sustainable precious metal technology to work on the process.

It works by targeting and extracting the metals from the circuit boards of electric goods, with trials at the Royal Mint having already produced gold with almost absolute purity.

The hope is that the process could offer a sustainable solution to the 50 million tonnes of electronic waste produced worldwide each year. Mountains of e-waste is sent to landfill or abroad to be processed at high temperatures in smelters.

Less than 20% of e-waste is currently recycled worldwide Credit: PA Images

Experts believe that as much as 7% of the world's gold may be contained in e-waste, with 100 times more gold in a tonne of e-waste than in a tonne of gold ore.

Less than 20% of e-waste is currently recycled worldwide, with precious metals valued at £41 billion largely discarded.

The Chief Executive of the Royal Mint, Anne Jessopp has said: "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."

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