Before throwing out your old mobile phone, maybe you should mine it first for gold, silver, copper and a host of other metals embedded in the electronics - many of which are enjoying near-record prices.
More than 800 million people around the world currently use mobile phones and that figure is growing daily as consumers get bombarded by advertising campaigns exhorting them to upgrade to the latest, most fashionable model. As a result mobile phones become outdated and new models are introduced faster than the changes in the Melbourne weather.
Rare earth elements are peppered throughout your phone, from the glass display, making it harder, to magnets in speakers, headphones, and vibrating motors, making them more powerful despite their small size. China’s monopoly has driven up prices on rare earths, raising costs for manufacturers.
Mobile phones, like most electronic equipment, are made up of a number of different parts from a number of different minerals. These minerals are sourced from all over the world, extracted, processed and assembled to make the millions of phones that are sold each month. www.wasteauthority.wa.gov.au
Nickel is recovered through extractive metallurgy: it is extracted from its ores by conventional roasting and reduction processes that yield a metal of greater than 75% purity. In many stainless steel applications, 75% pure nickel can be used without further purification, depending on the composition of the impurities.