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Historic coin maker targets e-waste

The Royal Mint, the historic producer of coins for the UK and other countries, is to recover gold and possibly other metals from e-waste such as end-of-life mobile phones.

It has signed an agreement with Canadian clean tech start up Excir and, in the initial use of the technology, The Royal Mint has already produced gold with a purity of 999.9. When fully scaled up, the process has potential also to recover palladium, silver and copper.

Excir’s patented technology, recovers 99%+ of gold from electronic waste contained within the circuit boards of discarded laptops and mobile phones. The chemistry selectively targets and extracts precious metals from circuit boards in seconds.

Less than 20% of electronic waste is currently recycled world-wide. This means that gold, silver, copper, palladium and other highly valued metals conservatively valued at US$ 57 billion (EUR 49 billion) are mostly discarded. Scientists and engineers are working to grow the innovative technology from laboratory scale to mass production with precious metals recovered at room temperature at The Royal Mint’s site in South Wales.

Anne Jessopp, ceo, The Royal Mint, says: ‘It provides us the opportunity to make a genuine impact on one of the world’s greatest environmental challenges while helping to secure our future as a leader in high quality, sustainable precious metals. This partnership represents a significant milestone for The Royal Mint as we reinvent for the future as the home of precious metals in the UK. The potential of this technology is huge.’

The Royal Mint is Britain’s oldest companies and the original maker of UK coins. It also provides carefully coins and precious metal products for the UK and overseas. 

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