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The urban mine

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Precious metals and rare earths are the object of a new debate on scarcity.

There is increasing interest in the concept of the URBAN MINE, which is mining the precious metals and rare earths from mobile phones, other electronics, wind turbines, etc.

German Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer is leading the EU on how Europe could develop an effective rare materials strategy, where recycling could be crucial.

Read more here: Recycling key to effective rare materials strategy

A mobile phone contains 100 times as much gold as gold ore (kg for kg). The problem is gathering them back…

One the biggest recycling plants in Europe is Umicore. They take back from mobile phones to catalysts.

Umicore recently said: “One ton of mobile phones contains from 300 to 350 grams of gold” and  “one fifth of cobalt can also be recycled in this way”.

Download the EU’s critical raw materials report here

Urban mining is usually a nice resource on this topic. See post on Europe’s waste leakage.

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1 comment

  1. September 14, 2011
    Leslie Davis (@davis_leslie) said...

    I recently saw some pieces on shows like CNN and the journal with Joan Lunden on PBS that were talking about issues and solutions for industrial recycling. This is an interesting twist that could really become a game changer in the future. Whoever gets in at the beginning of the urban mining will possibly be a part of a new gold rush of sorts. I hope we start implementing such programs early on to reduce our dependence.

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