Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to quit the day job and book the bucket list world tour you’ve always wanted to go on … Scientists have discovered a simple and yes effective method to extract gold from your old mobile phones.
Ok ok, so maybe don’t quit your job just yet but this does mean we can enhance our personal gold bank using the new technique found by research fellows at the University of Edinburgh.
Researchers believe that electrical waste contains as much as 7% of the world’s gold, but existing methods of extracting gold from circuit boards are inefficient and potentially hazardous as they involve toxic chemicals such as cyanide.
The fellows at the University of Edinburgh believe their method could help save some of the… wait for it… 300 tonnes (let that sink in) of gold used in electronic circuitry every year from devices such as smartphones, TV sets and computers!
Professor Jason Love, from the university’s school of chemistry, said the discovery could help reduce the environmental impact of gold mining.
He said: “We are very excited about this discovery, especially as we have shown that our fundamental chemical studies on the recovery of valuable metals from electronic waste could have potential economic and societal benefits.”
The method involves placing the circuit boards into mild acid to dissolve all the metal parts. An oily liquid which contains a chemical compound is then added, which only extracts the gold.
The study, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.