You can recover gold from scrap electronics by sending the inner components to a refinery or removing the gold yourself. In order to recover enough gold to make it profitable, you must gather or purchase a large quantity of old computers or cell phones. If you choose to go with the refinery route, you will need to send in at least 90.7 Kilogram / 200 pounds of electronic components to make it worth their while and yours. The majority of the gold is located near the connectors, integrated circuits and on the fingers (the part that attaches to a connector and looks like fingers). Recovering gold from electronic scrap helps to recycle it, keeping the precious metal out of landfills.
Remove the plastic from the electronic devices and send it to your local recycler.
Use a screwdriver and pliers to take out the valuable fingers, integrated circuit boards and the finger connectors.
Locate the gold inside each electronic device. It will look gold and shiny and will be located on the connectors, fingers and integrated circuit boards. Scrape off all the gold you can with a paint scraper and set it aside to be shipped to a refinery. While you are scraping, make sure the fine gold particles do not fall down inside the electronics. You can do this by tilting the piece you are working on over the top of a paper towel as you scrape it, thus allowing the gold particles to fall onto the paper towel.
Send the scraped components to your local electronics recycling centre. If scraping off the gold seems too laborious and time consuming, go on to Step 5.
Contact refineries that specialise in precious metals, such as Global Investment Recovery, Inc. and Metallix Refining, to find out how much it will cost to extract the gold from the scrap electronics. A refinery will make an offer to buy the gold, taking its commission from the difference between the daily or “spot” price of gold and its offer.
Before you send your electronic scrap to a refinery, estimate how much gold you think your scrap electronics contains. You can determine this by asking different refineries how much gold they estimate a certain amount of electronic scrap will contain.
Check out the current price of gold to determine whether to accept the refinery’s offer.
Consider purchasing bulk lots of scrap electronics overseas and importing them. Look for countries where the pound is strong and check out sites like recycleinme.com.
It is not recommended to use toxic chemical processes such as aqua regia to remove the gold. It can be very dangerous.
Tips and warnings
- Consider purchasing bulk lots of scrap electronics overseas and importing them. Look for countries where the pound is strong and check out sites like recycleinme.com.