Business urban mining featured

Published on June 24th, 2014 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg


Urban Mining: There’s Gold in Dem Dar Cell Phones! [Infographic]

Unprocessed e-waste, as we’ve noted many, many times, is pretty nasty stuff: a mishmash of chemicals and metals that can leach into the ground, and pollute soil and water if not handled properly. Proper recycling¬†keeps all those compounds where they need to be: either professionally remediated, or fed back into the industrial production stream after processing.

Sounds kind of ho-hum if you’re not into industrial processes… until you find out that there’s gold in those phones: literally. Yep, gold is one of the metals commonly used in electronics, and it can be recovered. Such “urban mining” has itself been a fairly toxic process in the past, but the National Metallurgical Lab in Jamshedpur, India, has devised a new method for extracting that precious metal without, say, burning, or cyanide, or more time-intensive processes like bioleaching.

Now, don’t go trying to the gold out of those old phones you’ve got laying around – this is a job for professionals. And while there’s not a lot in your individual phone, ¬†cell phone recyclers will likely be able to turn this new process into a substantial revenue stream. Check out the details in the infographic below – provided to us by e-waste handlers eCycle Best. If you’ve got thoughts, share ‘em…

Need to see a larger version of the graphic? Click on it…

urban mining infographic

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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at

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