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Hydrometallurgy method recovers almost 100% of precious metals

The Chinese-Taiwanese company UWin Nanotech has established Japan’s first full-process hydrometallurgy electronics recycling line in Tokyo.

The innovative e-scrap recycling facility relies on UWin Nanotech’s cyanide-free precious  metal extraction process. In combination with automated recycling equipment, the site enables efficient recovery of precious metals – such as gold, silver, palladium, copper, and tin – from discarded electronics.

As a first step, integrated cricuits and other components with high precious metals content are removed from the motherboards and sorted into detailed categories. Then rest of the material is subjected to UWin Nanotech’s patented wet-style precious metals stripping solution.

Company managing director, Kenny Hsu, says the metals are soaked in ‘green chemicals’ that are 100% cyanide-free. He adds the purity levels of the recycled metals can be as high as 99.99% when treating both e-scrap and batteries. In the latter case, cobalt and lithium will also be recovered at nearly optimum rates.

Hsu remarks that the non-toxic process can be used to recycle a ‘wider variety’ of precious metals compared to traditional furnace-based methods. Also, the hydrometallurgy consumes far less energy, thus significantly reducing costs.

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