Recovering gold from electronics, page 3
I've got about 15 lbs of gold plated circuit boards, Does any one have the specifics on how to glean the gold from them. I understand the concept of reverse plating but the specifics and chemicals are the unknown factor. If you know, Please post for meAllen Seabridge
HOBBYIST - Vancouver, Washington
This has been said a few times in this thread, but I'm sure it can't be said enough. All of you who are trying to extract gold from modern day electronics (IC sockets, edge connectors, monster cable, etc.) are wasting your time. 1 OZ gold = ~ 500$ You'd need about 50 computer mother boards to extract 1 oz of gold. You really didn't think electronic manufacturers lay this stuff on thick, did you? we're talking microns, and it's used to enhance the conductivity of the part - not to protect the part.
- Andover, Massachusetts
There's a program now showing on the travel channel about gold mining and recovery. It seem that it is easier to recover and more cost effective, to remove gold from electronics than to remove it from the ground. It was said on this show that there is about three oz's gold per ton of computer. It seems to me the best way get proper information on recovery, Is to go to the Retired Business Men's association and consult someone in the field of metals.
- Snow Camp, North Carolina
To Mr. Panjala Mukesh, Can I use another substitute from sodium meta nitro benzene sulphonate at Mr. Panjala Mukesh' methods?
I am a chemical engineer - Ankara, TURKEY
How to get gold from CPUs? I want to know about how I can extract gold from CPUs of mother boards?Syed Sajid Ali
- New Delhi, India
Hello I live in Tennessee and I have a large amount of computer boards and I'm looking for a dealer to sell them to can any please give me a listing of dealers near me?Thomas Thurman
COMPUTER BOARDS RECYCLING - DAYTON, Tennessee
I need to find all of these people who are recovering gold from scrap in their basements. As an environmental professional and remediation specialist I could make a fortune!
Seriously, I would advise anyone considering chemical reclamation of gold from scrap to really think twice before embarking on such an endeavor. The risk (to your health and the environment) is not worth the reward.
In a perfect set-up, you "might" recover 6 to 10 troy ounces of gold from a ton of high grade scrap, the costs to recover the gold run will run about $3000 a ton, leaving you a net of about $3000 on the high side, and guys trust me, the set up to effectively process a ton of scrap is not cheap. Not something you can do in your basement in a month. Oh well, that's my 2 cents worth.
Best of luck in all that you do.
- Knoxville, Tennessee
I have hundreds lbs of PC boards, CPUs, memories, etc. from scrap computers, I like to find gold refining/recovery firms near my place, New York, New York,and I can send them for gold bars.Edward Lee
- Woodhaven, New York
Under optimal conditions and following precise step by step instructions, approximately 1 oz. of gold can be recovered from approximately 15 lbs. of older ceramic CPUs and connector edges in Aqua Regia.Charles Rogers
- Jacksonville, Florida
Hello, Please read this to the end before attempting this process. I use this set up: use 1 quart of HNO3 (nitric acid 70% technical grade) dilute to 50% , soak one kilogram of computer CPUs in the solution for a period of time till the CPUs legs are fell off the ceramic or fiber backing, please do not agitate the solution. What this is doing is removing the silver solder that bond legs to CPUs backing. Filter the gold legs with coffee filter or you can use old pair of panty hose which should not be affected by the acid – caution solution is acidic! Add table salt to the solution after you filter the gold out to recover silver chloride, it will be in the form of white flakes. You can refine gold in aqua regia by washing the gold legs in the hot water to remove silver salts, this is important because silver will lock the gold in aqua regia! What that mean is gold will not come out from aqua regia; it will be difficult to droop out gold from the aqua regia! Next mix the acids: 30% by volume (70% nitric acid) and 70% by volume (35% hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid ). I use 300 ml of 70% nitric acid and 700 ml of 35% hydrochloric acid and it is working. Now you made the aqua regia – caution this solution is extremely acidic! Use 1 quart of aqua regia per 140 gram of gold legs. Don't use more then 140 gram of gold per 1 quart of aqua regia! I don't have time to explain why. Dissolve the gold, if it is not dissolving fast for you heat it a bit (90 F – 160 F) but not more than that, and please do it outside or under fume hood. I don't have time to explain why. After all your gold is in solution you need to mix one more think to neutralize the aqua regia; dissolve one and a half pound of urea in one quart of hot but not boiling water then add to the aqua regia till it will no longer fizz / bubble. Congratulation! You neutralize aqua regia. To precipitate gold from the neutralized aqua regia you going to need one to two teaspoon of sodium sulfite for each ounce of gold metal dissolved. Gold will come out of off the solution and settle on the bottom as brown particles that look like mud, this is 99,9% fine gold. This set up works on CPUs I don't know if it will work on everything.Paul Prisyazhnyuk
- Erie, Pennsylvania
Since there is so little gold on the copper traces and wires, why not consider the gold a slight impurity and ignore it? Scrape/clip of the copper wires, melt the wires down and cast it as copper. Copper is not a cheap metal. It has to be WAY more valuable than the gold, and all it takes is heat to melt it.
Why does everyone want that recycled gold so badly? Cast the copper and sell the ingots instead.
- Ventura, California
I agree that using powerful acids is far too dangerous and costly for the small business, home business, hobbyist market. Especially when considering making a profitable enterprise.
I am an electronics engineer, and must also mention again, it is not solid gold in these electronics boards, the only gold in there, is the gold you can actually see on the surface of connectors, and it is VERY thin, it is simply to stop corrosion "on the surface" There is also nothing substantial hidden inside plain chips. If a large (CPU) chip is gold colored on top or bottom, it is still only a very thin layer, it isn't solid gold. It is so thin, you can't even scrape it off properly. Inside a CPU there is VERY fine connecting wires made from gold, (386 and 486 are best, old Pentiums have less fine gold wires) and you can crack them open, and scrape the wires with a sharp blade onto a glass plate, (don't blame me if you cut your finger please!:) and collect them to a nice pile... etc etc.. I have done this, but not for profit, as it is a time consuming and very wasteful process.
You are best to do as mentioned previously, and collect only all the gold looking stuff, stripping down best you can, and get a premium buy price from a good scrap dealer.
HOWEVER, the reason I am here, in this particular subject thread, is pretty much the same as everyone else's. I would like to refine my own small nugget of pure gold (and pgms would be nice too!) for my elements and mineral collection.
There seems to be a non acid and "safe" method of refining gold (and advertised commercially as a kit set) using simple salt solution(?) and ceramic filters, etc.
NOW wouldn't this be a great way to promote safe home chemistry, without the use of dangerous chemicals, if we could know what the process used.
NOW, as others have mentioned here, I would purchase this system, but where I live, it makes it a bit price prohibitive, and I am sure it is a simple solution which someone is marketing with a HUGE profit margin on the unit, (I don't know, maybe years of research did go into this kit set, but when the prices of them vary by hundreds of US$, it makes me wonder) and the ongoing supply of what must be simple and safe chemicals. (I cannot import ANY chemical into the country where I live, but may be able to buy them if I know what they are).
So, I ask this question of the experts, in the name of safety and simplicity, this safe electrolytic refinery process surely must be the answer to all our wonderings, but what the heck is it?
elements collector - Auckland, New Zealand
December , 2006
Regarding that "HUGE profit margin", Tony, I think you'll find "The grass is always greener . . ."
But why don't you contact the manufacturer and get a license to distribute or manufacture the units and the chemistry on your side of the world and participate in the larceny? Despite any "safety and simplicity" justifications you advance, this website is not going to collaborate in the theft of trade secrets :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
What about gold melting pots, is that a way to melt the gold off circuit boards?Jon Jackson
mobile computers - Suisun, California
I would like to know how I can find large lots of scrap computer parts for precious metal recovery (refining) excluding Ebay? I have read questions on this site that people post who want to know how they can refine computer scrap because they have an endless supply
(supplier). Can someone let me know the secrets to obtaining all that scrap for free or at little or no cost? I have done a lot of research gold refining and will share it with anyone. If you have solid karat gold scrap for refining such as 10 k, 14 k, 18 k, 24 k, solid gold jewelry (unplated), aqua regia method will not work. Aqua regia is for gold plated items only. You could use the Simplicity gold refining system for your solid gold items.
Thanks for your time and help!
- Ball Ground, Georgia
Actually solid gold can be done by aqua regia, I don't care what you read, I do it. I use aqua regia (now sub zero) Check ishor.com for solid gold, gold filled, circuit boards, memory, IC chips, processors and anything non metal based plated.
For pins and gold plated items I use a simple reverse electroplating cell. It simple to make, a Pyrex glass measuring cup. You need sulfuric acid,( I use "rooto acid drain cleaner) (2 cups) glycerin (1/4 teaspoon) and you have your electrolyte, The cathode has to be lead, the anodes have to be stainless steel. use a 10 amp battery charger and your set, obviously there is more to it but that's the general set up the "poor mans way"
I have recovered over 3 pounds of 99% pure gold over a 2 year span using these two methods so I know what I'm talking about when I say you can do solid gold with subzero, and pretty much anything.
The reason there's so many questions and not enough answers is the general population is not mentally equipped to do this stuff, you can kill yourself easily or others. Not to mention the lazy ones you do not dispose of waste properly and just dump it anywhere. there are no shortcuts that do not result in harm! it is a tedious and detailed process and each step must be done correctly!
- Ashland, Pennsylvania
Just wanted to let anyone interested in gold refining from electronics scrap my experience. There really is not any money in it. First refiner I went to was a company in the North west Suburbs of Chicago. Sounds like "Progressive Soup" Refiners. I sent "Progressive Soups" precious metals division over 42 lbs of Mix heavy 1970s gold electroplated Pins from telecom equipment over 800 ceramic based CPUs, and about 2 troy oz. of 14 Kt yellow gold junk jewelry. They took 2 full months to get me a settlement check of a whopping $607.00 dollars . (I have documents to prove . half the stuff I got on ebay and the other half I bought from a retired Bell Labs employee. so I spent over $2000 dollars (not including my time and labor cleaning the crap. )
The other company I sent a similar amount but only 18 lbs (T oz) which I spent $1000 dollars minus my time and effort cleaning and pulling pins, and they sent me back a whopping $500.00 (five hundred u.s. dollars). This company which sounds like "Spackelty Helters and Sckelters Refiners". All this is the Truth, and nothing but (i have some significant paper documents to prove) . I am a hard working , God Fearing, Honest young man from the Midwest.
To be honest , I wish I never got involved with it. Also these
"Gold Refiner's" have short fuses, or very lacking in customer service and relations. When I was calling around and told them I had over 40 lbs of ceramics based CPUs, they were all very keenly interested, but why would they if the 40 plus lbs of Ceramics based Processors only yield about $600.00 U.S. dollars and their cut is only 10%? Something stinks and I am the sucker.
From my experience , I would recommend avoiding refiners, or just don't bother with e-trash (unless you are getting the stuff for free and don't have to clean any of it). I would have made more money if I auctioned my collection on ebay. Financially I have lost over $3000.00 dollars, and Lost over I think over 800 man hours of labor. Keep in mind this is for the "high yield electronics" . This is worse than slave labor, because at least a slave gets meals, and roof. Better to get gold from real scrap jewelry and sell to jeweler.
Are there any "Honest Refiners" ?
- Naperville, Illinois
American manufacturers have found it exceptionally difficult to compete against China, where skilled labor is available at 1/10 the cost. More than half of all e-waste goes to China where the desperate, who are unable to land those jobs that pay 10% of American wages, illegally refine this stuff on street corners and front porches to try to survive. You can smell the towns from miles away. Go to ted.com/tedtalks and search for the presentation by Ed Burtynsky, which is fabulous; one of the things it includes is the photos of these desperate people, their polluted towns and acrid air, their streets paved with e-waste.
If you want to compete in the free market against people who are scratching in the dirt to survive, and who would be elated if they could have hope that their children might someday make 10 percent of American wages, then reclaiming e-waste may be for you.
I guess it's hard for those of us who don't have gold fever to understand what it's like :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
I am interested in recovering copper from electronic scrap, it seems to me that there is more copper in pcb's then gold or silver.
I would like to know in detail how it is done, is there anyone out there that will share?
Richard R. Conway
- Clearlake, California
Look....I read all the responses from this site and questions...I come to this conclusion.... gold from computers has to be worth it. The free world is ALL collecting this stuff... and China is buying the computer boards whole by the container...and I have seen with my own eyes gold bars being loaded onto a bank truck in a SCRAP YARD...yes...gold in a scrap yard locked up...who would guess.... now it is obvious the newbies like me do not know the full extent of this...but something is up here...just like the guy talking about CAT CONVERTERS.... actually they are over a $100 US and smelted worth a $1000.....now this gold stuff is the same thing...before years back car scrap was everywhere, and all shops said please take it away..NOW,,everyone knows about it and stealing them off cars.... the people that know about computer scrap are not making the same mistake...they are shutting up and getting rich...think about it...
But one thing for sure, soon it will come out because WAY too much interest now. But then will be hard to get a scrap computer.... everyone will be selling scrap...just like cars...cars that don't run and rotted, people still don't give them away.... These people who know and read this know what I am talking about.... and they are not going to say diddly squat to anyone...think about it would you if you have a sure thing...I DON'T THINK SO.....so you know what.... get a real job or hobby and forget it...unless you get one of these guys and choke them..LOL.... and maybe they will tell you...then ok...good luck everyone..because anything to do with money.... is called good luck.....Robert Talarico
- Ontario, Canada
The world also trades in sand, gravel, and manure, Robert. That doesn't make them "precious". Do yourself the favor of reviewing some podcasts or videos of disabled Chinese people living in squalor and recycling this garbage. A short life-span, a constant eye-watering stench, living outside of the law, polluting their streets, and a few cents an hour, at most, are their reward for this recycling work. You are welcome to it.
As for "secretive", there are numerous peer-reviewed books, going back many decades, to tell you everything about precious metal recovery--there is nothing the least bit secret about it. There probably is a scam element to it when people suggest it is a road to riches and only they can guide you on that road.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
This is for all questioners and respondents to this "topic".
I have been doing the "scrap process" as an amateur for many years. I have many contacts in the scrap business and a lesser number in precious metal recovery. I do it as a hobby; not necessarily, an income maker.
For the amateur:
Recyclers will only pay 50% of what they "know" they can sell for. That is, the least they can sell for. They will have every excuse as to why the item has little value.
Sodium or potassium cyanide is deadly for the amateur.
Agua regia is only a little less risky. Nitrates of lead, copper and mercury are explosive when dried.
Copper hydroxide,developed when using the heavy alkaline leaches, is deadly in small doses.
The list goes on for ever.
You can make a bit of money from it; but, you have to spend the money for equipment and the time to learn how to use each of the processes BEFORE you start. Learn the disposal process. Learn the SAFETY aspect of the process; know them by heart.
AND FOLKS, IT AIN'T EASY!
For the professional:
The acidic/SSN/chlorine (SSN=saturated salt natant), where the acid is HCl, is by a wide margin the safest for the backyard recycler.
This guy has some formulas for those that will allow users to work a bit more safely, if they follow instructions. There are others, but this was handy.
- Socorro, Texas
Very interesting topic! Personally I have done hours of research into the economic viability & environmental liability of numerous processes involved with the recycling of ALL e-waste. As the exponential rise of ewaste continues, the amount of e-waste exported to third world countries has increased. There is a convention in place for most countries regarding export of this toxic waste, the Basel conv., however the leading country involved in the formation of said conv., America, has not adopted any of the practices regarding the export of these toxic substances, and still export to poor countries for them to deal with to the best of their economic ability, with disastrous consequences!
The only way to prevent more damage to our perhaps already dying planet, is to adopt safe process from the very beginning, the manufacturers. Surely with their billions of bucks they CAN create more recycle friendly equipment using less toxic materials and identifying the toxic substances they do use.
As has been said many times before THIS STUFF WILL KILL YOU maybe not now but it builds up in organic systems. Look at the report the US Navy has done on Beryllium commonly used as a heat sink paste, you don't want to touch the stuff!
[deleted by editor] you blokes [deleted by editor] around with this stuff have not researched the full dangers of what you are trying to deal with, and if you have, you don't give a [deleted by editor]. Several towns in poorer countries now do. Travel for miles to find uncontaminated drinking water, kids maimed and mutilated by acids, the list goes on.
Sell or give ALL your unwanted electronic equipment to an accredited e-waste recycler for the good of OUR EARTH OUR CHILDREN & THEIR CHILDREN, the are many good ones out there, find them.
Let me assure you to recycle ewaste to recover the precious metals & common metals requires a huge amount of capital, licensing, & knowledge also you must have ethics, not just out for the quick buck. Bloody hell burning boards, acid leaching, etc., that process alone you people are stuffing OUR earth. You must take the temperature up to at least 1300 C to destroy the dioxins, the emissions taken through a two stage wet filter then a two stage dry filter and must continually monitored. Can you afford or have the knowledge and approval for this? This is just the first process! Let alone removing all metals from acid solutions, to make them safe for disposal!
Come on get some sense about yourselves, support accredited e-waste recyclers, the only profit from e-waste comes from economy of scale and should not be treated as a hobby, please look after our mother earth, she's the only one we have!
- Brisbane, QLD, Australia
HI EVERYONE,,I JUST FOUND THIS WEB-SITE-SO COOL---MY QUESTIONS ARE--FIRST OF ALL I KNOW NOT A THING ABOUT GOLD..I HAVE CAME ACROSS A LOT OF COMPUTERS BROADS..QUESTIONS ARE,,I THINK THE GOLD PINS ARE PLATED? BUT I HAVE A LOT OF SILVER ONES ARE THESE WHITE GOLD? I ALSO NOTICE A LOT OF BLACK THINGS ON THIS BROADS[[BOXES]]SHOULD I TAKE THESE OFF THE BROADS I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT THESE ARE CALLED IS THEIR GOLD IN THESE?DO THE BOARDS THEM SELF HAVE GOLD IN THEM? SHOULD I TAKE THE TIME TO BRAKE THE BOARDS UP? I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ANYONE WHO COULD HELP ME WITH MY QUESTIONS--THANKSMICHEAL AHL
STUDENT - CORNING, California
Get rich quick or die trying .... I think its the latter in this case, the environmental costs of these idiots setting fire to circuit boards all over the planet beggars belief!Colin Colboy
- Poole, UK
Can I use DC current to extract the Gold from a NX stripper(base)that has Potassium Cyanide in it to strip the gold that has become heavily laden in gold stripped from plated terminals and circuit board connectors. If so, do I need to pacify the cyanide before removing the gold. I hope to plate the gold to a piece of stainless steel bar and melt the gold from it in a crucible to pour into a mold.Steve Caldwell
hobbyist - Winston Salem, North Carolina
I've come across lots of information detailing the methods of recovery of various precious metals, including gold/silver/PGMs from electronic scrap. Personally, never tried it, never will. It is not worth the time, expense, effort or inherent dangers to attempt this on a small scale. Some people trying to sell you certain books will try to convince you that it can be done by anyone in your basement or garage. But, they're trying to sell you a book. I have a question, though... Where are you guys getting all this computer/telecom/electronic scrap? I've read several posts from folks saying they have tons. I'd love to know how I could get my hands on some. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.Tom Banks
- Woodstock, Minnesota
It depends what town you live in, Tom. In some towns the citizens are encouraged to take any stuff from the town dump that they feel they can reuse -- and that includes old radios, telephones, computers, TVs, and stereos.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
To the general public knowledge: PMG recovery is cut-throat business.
Cut fingers from the PC board, pull all gold plated contact from the MoBo (Motherboard) Get them in large plastic or glass container 3 Liter or larger, use one pint of 70% Nitric acid with 1 pint of distill water, add 40 gram of metal contacts bearing gold to the acid . Let it sit for a month at room temperature. Agitate container once a day. Acid will get hot - work it self true the base metal (does not work on stainless steel) after all base metal dissolve in acid you going to see the gold color flakes on the bottom of the container, to be sure that liquid is neutral and all acid is gone add a piece of copper wire to the solution to kill the rest of acid, pore distilled water to the solution let the gold particles to settle down on the bottom of the container pore the solution with out the gold flakes into plastic container or glass you can recover cooper and other metals later just add aluminum to the solution. Add hot distilled water to the gold flakes. Let it stand for the hour or so, gold will settle on the bottom of the container, pore the water off of this container in the drain it contains wary little metal salts.
The most efficient method to get gold from the gold flakes metal is to use Mercury / Sodium amalgam. It is not too difficult to recharge the mercury after it is exhausted in the processes of gold recovery. It is safe if one takes full precautions in mercury recovery after it's been in used. Mercury / Sodium amalgam can absorb one third of its weight in gold. So if you need to absorb one troy ounce of gold it will take 100 gram of Mercury / Sodium amalgam.
- Erie, Pennsylvania
I'll probably be accused of somehow being in cahoots with the major refineries because people can be pissy when they have gold fever; nonetheless . . .
One problem with e-waste is that amateur recycling is a wrecking ball that scatters the toxic materials everywhere. Add to it that the cost of recycling the whole item is so close to break even that when 'cherry picking' like this is done, you inflict the planet and the rest of us with the balance of the toxic waste in unrecoverable form and scattered everywhere. This video, and there are dozens like it from every major environmental organization, explains why leaving the computer whole is a central ingredient in gaining control over the world's e-waste problem:
Crutchfield has a nice little widget on their website at http://www.crutchfield.com/environmental-policy/recycling.html that lets you plug in your zip code and get a list of recyclers.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
hey people what melts metal, da?
it's heat. grind the boards up to small stuff, put it in a pot and heat it up.
then the heavier metal goes to the bottom.
the scrap yard does it. if you add a little gold to the pot when you heat it the other gold will go to it when you melt the stuff
wala... gold , silver, lead........
- rouseville, Pennsylvania
Everyone is wanting the same thing and that's just to do this as cheap as possible and as safe as possible. I can tell you a way that is very cost effective and very safe. One chemical to buy and it gets the gold off the PCB and then you can reuse the chemical to do more. It doesn't work on the CPUs but it is very good on any of the memory or circuit boards. Very simple folks go to RADIO SHACK and get a bottle or 2 of etching solution for around $4.00 a bottle and then soak the gold PCB parts in it, the gold floats to the top. What this is doing is melting away the copper under the gold and there ya have it. Now strain the gold and move on to the next set. I have tried many ways and this is the easiest and safest for the boards. The rest isn't enough to mess with I sell them and take what I can get for them.John Wilson
- Charlotte, North Carolina
I have studied the e waste recycle path from collection to refinery, I am just starting an e waste biz.. well, I have seen a lot of people doing refinery in non environmental friendly way... from what I am thinking if you want to make it a biz, we need to plan it in the environmental and economic balance way... what I have seen so far, it is not legal and not safe either to perform the refinery yourself. I am currently planning the biz more to every process before the refinery, that will actually make profits to you ; even if you dun continue yourself to the final refinery path, so you just sell it... but if you do like to continue for further profit, you could find a professional refiner, calculate the transportation and handling fees... including the law and regulation in your country... the numbers will tell you whether is it worth?
of course you will need to know what material are you having? I used to send my material for element analysis, so I have confidence on the % material that I am going to recover. Sending it to the pro refiner which you can check what metals they able to recover, as in e waste... there are (PM)Au, Ag, Pd, Pt and Cu, Ni, Sn, Fe, Al (BM)... a most ideal refiner is with low cost then with capability of recovery most of the expected elements.
So that makes up the biz plan. of coz it needs to be in quantity.... if you are just having a little of the e scrap, I will not think this will come into a profit... coz only the huge quantity makes bucks in the scrap market refinery...
I am in my last part planning which to look for the refiners and calculating the expenses vs expected revenue... so in short I still do not have any data to prove this plan is earning...
p/s: some of the big boys refiner, r2japan, Heraeus, Umicore... which I think is trustable and reliable one.
well, that's only my 2 cent of idea... there is no concrete data that it will work yet.. so I will be glad to receive comment...thanks.
I have been attempting to get information on how to separate scrap gold from jewelry using chemical mixes however, I need assistance in knowing the percentage of acids, volts for the usage of electric, distance, voltage, etc. recovery of gold from solution. If anyone can assisted me I would appreciate this as I do have a chemist assistance but he is requesting additional information before the usage of anymore chemicals so we will not lose any more gold.Ramona DuBois
- San Rafael, New Mexico
Okay - I am a retired(?) male with average intelligence and a huge factor of curiosity. I have been for years taking old computers and tearing them down for the precious metals and such. Recently I have read so much on chemical extractions and such that I thought maybe I would try that. I did purchase some nitric acid, hydrochloric and several other types. THEN I sit myself down and had one heck of a talk with myself. Result - the acids stay in the bottles and I continue doing what I have been doing. I don't figure the risk of using the different acids are worth the returns. Instead I do take the boards and clip off the connectors, then I use either a small sharp chisel or such to take all the parts off the boards. Then I reverse the boards and chisel the protruding ends level with board. Now I have a board that is easy to work with. By taking a single edge razor blade, I can strip the board of the gold and silver or such. These strippings I put into a clear plastic bag and at my leisure, I further check the strippings and cut off any solder or such. Then I melt the whole deal after weighing the strippings to about l oz or a little better. True, I don't get 99.9% pure but it does give me a good feeling to see the gold buttons. I have taken the buttons to a jeweler and he sort of off-handed gave me an appraisal of the button which he said would probably be about 75% of value. Of course, the button has other materials mixed in such as a few drops of mercury, a little tin, a bit of silver, etc. But the end result is, I have some gold and silver buttons and they are worth what I want them to be--that is, since I have SS and retirement, it is great to see the buttons and have given me a tremendous amount of self-satisfaction with the obvious dangers of killing/maiming/disabling myself trying to get a few bucks off the board. Best part is, I don't have a lot of money wrapped up, I am not hurting the land/air/water and I have a lot of enjoyment. So, having said that, let me recommend that, unless you are willing to take a little over a long period of time, leave the acids, the burning, the dropping, etc. with the professionals and be happy with the realization that you can get what you want without hurting yourself.Charles Ottaway
- Perkins, Oklahoma
February 11, 2008
Charles; I too am in to the safer side of this spectrum and am interested in some more of your input. I've read every word of this letter and I am exited that someone out there feels the way I do, peeling the gold plating off the boards is personally a novel idea I've done it and its not that hard once you get the hang of it! what I would like to know is where would be the best place to sell my stuff?jerry seifried
recycler - Tulsa, Oklahoma
February 19, 2008
After reading these letters about people possibly hurting or poisoning themselves by trying to recover gold and other precious metals from PCB's and other scrap electronics, I would also like to point out that even crushing or smashing integrated circuits to gain access to precious metal can be hazardous. The packages of some high power transistors and integrated circuits are made from poisonous materials such as arsenic and breathing the dust or even getting it in your eyes or mouth can cause health problems over time and repeated exposure. Taking these parts to proper facilities is very good advice.Vern Evens
electronics technologist - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
February 19, 2008
I have dissolved some computer chips in aqua regia. then I added urea to neutralize the nitric acid. after that I added the sodium metabisulfate to extract the gold but nothing happened, just some white sediment on the bottom. I can not figure out what I did wrong, maybe there was solder in the mix. I do not know. please if anyone can help me out, it would be greatly appreciated.Syzmon Wysocki
hobbyist - Sarasota, Florida
March 1, 2008
DO NOT-EVER! SEND YOUR SCRAP TO A REFINER- YOU WILL ONLY BE PAID FOR ABOUT 40%-60% OF WHAT THEY RECOVER! CHECK THE FBI INVESTIGATIONS OF THE LAST 16 MO.- THESE COMPANIES ARE CROOKS!
DISSOLVE IN NITRIC ACID, POUR LIQUID INTO ANOTHER CONTAINER, ADD ZINC POWDER, FILTER, DRY, SMELT, REMOVE SLUDGE- THERE IS YOUR GOLD! DO NOT THROW AWAY THE LIQUID- YOU CAN REPROCESS. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE REMAINS OF THE FIRST CONTAINER- SILVER OR OTHER METALS.
ELECTROLYSIS- THIN GOLD CATHODE, FLAT MATERIAL ANODE- 20-30 AMP @ 3 VDC. USE THE LIXIVIANT OF YOUR CHOICE.
OR THERE IS A UNIT YOU CAN GET FOR UNDER $5K THAT WILL SEPARATE 3 DIFFERENT PRECIOUS METALS AT THE SAME TIME. WORTH IT IF YOU PLAN ON DOING IT FOR REAL.
R&D - Boca Raton, Florida
March 1, 2008
There are honest and dishonest people in every field, Russ; but giant corporations entrust their millions of dollars of precious metals to refiners.
But it's also true that it's hard to appraise the value of metals you are sending to a refinery, so the operators probably do have a stronger temptation to cheat than most businesses.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
March 5, 2008
Ted, I agree. But, the honest ones- ARE honest when dealing with BIG corporate $$$. If you're not BIG corporate- you are screwed- for now. At least until- several refiners go to jail.
I do APPLAUD all those who give the advice to avoid this as a hobby. The ecological apathy and negligence toward the toxic by-products is inherent to the "shade tree" refiner. We need to be responsible toward our planet- even in the face of losing money!
For the hobbyist, remember this- it is a FEDERAL FELONY to dispose of toxic waste. For those that just think toxic waste comes from nuclear power plants- look it up in a dictionary. Anything that can CONTAMINATE the environment- is a toxic waste.
Now that being said- I will impart some info. I you do decide to proceed as a hobbyist- do not use cyanide...do not use lead...use goggles...use RESPIRATOR filter...use chemist apron and protective gloves...have at least two CHEMICAL fire extinguishers...go small- do small batches at a time...always neutralize chlorides, nitrates, acids, and sulfides immediately!...DO NOT STORE- take to your local chemical disposer!
Remember- it will just take one person to smell the fumes and call the fire department- then- you will be ticketed and prosecuted by 4 different government agencies!
This is the cost of refining- if you can't afford it- don't do it. If you're going to do it- do it right.
This is just some general info for safety- sorry, but I can't explain the process in detail- I do not need anymore competition!
I am happy to share any general info with anybody- knowledge is and should be free. If anyone has non-specific questions, I'll be happy to answer. You can post here.
Save yourself, by saving your planet!
R&D - Boca Raton, Florida
March 7, 2008
I want to know where can I find a computer salvage lot. I wanted to get scrap computer parts. ThanksAndrew Tiong
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 22, 2008
So the best way to make any money off old e-waste as I read these many posts is to find a cheap or free source of computer parts and sell them on ebay for the people who do want to take all the risks? What is the realistic or average take (how much would I probably make as gross) by selling on ebay, if the buyer gave me a fair price for the parts? (Plus they pay for the shipping)Craig Whitehead
- Mars Hill, North Carolina
March 23, 2008
I am a University student who has acquired several hundred pounds of WWII electronic parts made of silver or with a high silver content. I want to get the silver from these parts in the most efficient and economical manner possible. I have thought of using the parts as the anode in a plating process and "plate OUT" the silver...is this possible?Bill Farrell
University student - Missoula, Montana
April 2, 2008
I M A STUDENT OF B.SC WANT TO REFINE GOLD FROM SUBZERO AQUA REGIA. I HAVE BEEN SPEND ENOUGH MONEY TO GET GOLD FROM COMPUTER CIRCUIT BOARD . I ALSO PURCHASED SUBZERO , STORM PRECIPITANT FROM SHOR INTERNATIONAL COMPANY. please TELL THAT IN 6 liters OF HCl HOW MUCH SUBZERO IS DISSOLVED. TELL ME THE GOLD RICHEST PART OF COMPUTER CIRCUIT BOARD. please ITS URGENT.
REPLY TO ME SOON
STUDENT - LAHORE, PAKISTAN
April 27, 2008
Regards to all those thinking of refining gold from computer scrap and do not want to use chemicals the amalgamation process is one that I use and have very good results from its very simple and chemical free. The basics are this after reducing the computer boards from any excess metal parts like aluminum or tin connectors and excess chips ( ceramic that contain gold wiring ) I then immerse the boards fingers pins and crushed chips into an amalgamate mixture which a metal mixture ( lead free ) that has been heated in a cast iron pot to melting temp the amalgamate absorbs all precious metals the scrap base metals board material and such collects on the top as slag once the amalgamate has absorbed its weight in pm it will become very thick temperatures have to be watched carefully as the amount of heat to keep the mixture melted will raise as the percentage of pm is absorbed. Once fully saturated the dore (amalgamate and pm) is crushed and then cupled to remove the amalgamate from the pm which will bead in the center of the cupel. Once the pm is recovered I suggest having it refined by pros. By my calculations the percentage of gold on older computer boards is roughly 1% less as the age decreases. if you have a large supply of electronic scrap you can actually make a good amount of money without doing anything visit ebay and look at the prices people are getting for their scrap by those of us that are more experienced at recovering the pm for example one auction for a 20 lb box of parts went for roughly 500.00 the main point is be safe there are fumes that are very harmful to you and others even with the no chemical method of amalgamy the resigns and boards will smoke when the pm are being separated into the amalgamate mixture which by the way is way cheaper than chemicals.Floyd Greene
- Redmond, Oregon
April 5, 2008
I want to extract gold from computer circuit boards through subzero aqua regia method.
now I want to ask some question.
Which is the richest part of gold in PCB?
HOW I clean the PCB from excessive or needless things?
And in 6 litre of muriatic acid how much subzero is dissolved?
please tell me if any one of one you knows. Reply me as soon as possible, because I have spend enough money and time on it.
student - Lahore, Pakistan
May 19, 2008
Well just call me a dumb redneck, I took everything on the circuit boards, cracked open processors, smashed circuits, all the gold plated pins, plug inns, memory cards, sound cards, video cards,name it if I thought there was gold in it, on it, around it, near it, I even melted green coating from the mother board with a low temp with a torch, then peeled off the circuit mess off the board,well no gold on that I found out, I put everything in a metal bowl 9 inches around and 4 1/4 deep, and put a cutting torch under it adjusted the torch so it wouldn't melt the bowl, all the pins never melted, all that mesh never melted, anything silver and gold and any lead melted first, I poured it out into another bowl and started melting again, Yea I got gold, yep sure did, from all the parts I used I ended up with 1.75 grams, it was fun,but cost me more in fuel for my cutting touch, and wasting a day melting, wasted all my time saving all that junk for a 1.75 gram, took a day,approx $70.00 worth, I make a $150 to $200 a day painting houses, hey I lost money, So I got smart started buying gold in 1/2 grams coins and in 1 grams bars, and save it let it make me money instead of costing me money, take the advice from a Redneck, just go buy some gold and wait tell it increases in value and sale it, or just get a loan on it. after all who won't loan on gold it's gold, take $40.00 or $80.00 from your pay check and buy
1 or 2 grams each payday or once a month it goes up in value, buy it before it gets any higher as of May 19, 2008 $905 an oz and $40 a gram.
Oh my question is: does anyone agree to leave it to the pro's or people with experience,Just go buy your gold friend, don't waist your time or your money, It takes a lots of processors and old ram cards, sound cards, video cards, modems etc etc, can you say pick up bed full and flat 16 foot trailer full of computer parts to really pay off, but then the right process take a lot of your pay off, Your recovery is like playing the Lotto you spend a lot to win but do you do anything more then brake even, after your time and expense,but we all have had gold fever and a dream. But if you must then be careful.
Redneck point of view.
May 19, 2008
First to explain my situation, my dad owned an electronic store that processed a lot of old electronics. Over the years he amassed a huge amount of electronics he intended to scrap. The infamous scrap pile has been sitting outside for years and is most likely not of much value to anyone wanting to have vintage electronics.
Back when I was working for him, I would scrap tons of electronics, mainly for the components which he sold in the store but also for aluminum, copper etc. All the circuit boards would be cleaned of aluminum, excess waste material etc and at one point we took a trailer load to Salt Lake City to be refined. My question is if any one knows of a reputable refiner that can process a lot of circuit boards? Most of the electronics are from the 70s and 80s so the plating is a lot thicker then it is today or even in the 90s.
Also, he had stored a couple tons of prepped boards in a warehouse on the property that burned down. Most of the waste from the fire was thrown away although there is a large pile of burnt material still there that should have some gold present. Is it worth doing anything with this material or should we just get rid of it?
hobbyist - Fort Collins, Colorado
May 27, 2008
To all that have got the GOLD recovery from computers BUG, I came across this site from a friend of mine in California, I have read a lot of questions & comments concerning this subject. I read response from a gentleman in Freeport Maine, I have to agree with him. My wife and I are the former owners of two large tech recovery here in New England, one in southern Maine and one in New Hampshire. The facility in Maine was called Cyberjunk, it was only for the recovery of electronic waste, we were generating approximately five hundred to six hundred thousand pounds of scrap circuit boards a year. We processed our own metals, gold, silver, platinum,palladium and others. We extracted and processed the plated components at Cyberjunk, the rest of the circuit board was shipped to our refiner in Philadelphia named Abington Metals, the process to extract/leaching or recovering the metals can be VERY DANGEROUS AND VERY TOXIC, my wife and I have a very extensive background in chemistry and the danger involved if these chemicals should mishandled.
If you don't know how to handle the chemicals you can get very badly burned or killed, if you can sell your scrape board and gold components, sell them. God bless all of you for wanting make money, we wish all of you people the success you all deserve! please be careful and leave the gold processing to an EPA permitted facility.
- Houlton, Maine
June 3, 2008
Like everyone else here I have a few tons of archaic technology that I am interested in refining. A good bit of the stuff is specialized (custom built) pre 1980s, some telephone equipment and it has lots of good looking contacts, ICs, etc. After looking into the DIY and reading Mr. Mooney's and other advice, I'm interested in leaving the refining to the professionals. I don't mind separating the boards and worthwhile chips. Just for kicks I stripped a few pins and etched the copper out of them to see how feasible it was. On a microscale its effective, but hardly worth the effort, even if my time cost next to nothing as the etching solutions (cu or Fe based w/ H202 I think) aren't cheap. (not to mention they are lethal to aquatic life). Even then I'd miss some metals. I have been researching refineries around me and I'm wondering who to turn to. I understand heat can be tricky because if its run too hot the gold sublimes and is lost, not to mention what's trapped in slag, highway robbery etc. I'm wondering if cyanide extraction is more efficient than heat? Is there a drawback to CN such as other pgms lost?
I am in Baltimore Md. CD&E is the only CN facility I can find nearby. Anyone done any business with them? Other suggestions I had are Gemark, Abington Metals (from one of the postings on here). I'm not trying to truck this stuff to Canada or much further than NY unless it makes that much difference. I'm also wondering if these businesses will want to deal with me, a small timer without even a business license, over basically a ton or so of processed material minus housings, etc. I understand with assay and processing fees it can hurt a small load like this. Anyone have any positive experiences or good contacts (pun intended) at these facilities,? Drop me a line.
Someone mentioned a broker, but I feel like there are already too many middlemen involved, though if you've gotten a square deal from one let me know. Again, I'm looking for someone near Baltimore Md who can process these contacts, boards etc and won't lose the pgms OR HURT THE ENVIRONMENT, and I definitely don't want this stuff to end up polluting some village in India or China. Thanks for you time, and best of luck to all of you. This has been a real adventure between learning chemistry and business. Most of all be safe and conscious of your impact on the world around you. I look forward to your thoughts,
- Baltimore, Maryland
June 10, 2008
There are great questions and good answers on this site.
From my personal experience-take your scrap to a refiner. The first time we did this I hooked up with a local man (a real & dangerous crook) one who will hurt you for the gold. Spent a ton of money on supplies and chemicals to have "him " run off with the end product and leave me with a real mess and almost bankrupt.
My next experience was a lot better. I hauled in 3000 lbs of computer/electronic scrap to Sipi metals (a refiner) in Chicago Ill. 45 days latter I received my check for my precious metals along with my cat converter scrap check. This is still the better way to do business unless you want to take a chance possibly with your life.
Hope this helps.
- Hillsdale, Michigan
June 10, 2008
I came looking on how to and decided that recovering myself is out of the questions. We recycle old electronics and such on a small scale about 3 tons + a month. Currently we strip copper wire, aluminum heatsinks and light steel off our scrap boards. My question is what other items would be worth pulling off these CBs prior to us turning them in to our local metal yard and possibly where could these items be sent from our location.
We attempt to sell worthwhile items in various venues HD, FDD, CD/DVD if they do not sell, it takes me about 3 minutes to tears these apart into base components and recycle them for PCB, aluminum and light steel.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I do the recycling to supplement my income. Any increase would be a plus. Thanks in advance for your time.
On a side note the thought of these non professional people playing with highly toxic and dangerous chemicals frightens me. Where are they dumping the Waste?
- Thornton, Colorado
June 25, 2008
I've bought the Shor SubZero/Aqua Regia Gold Refining Starter Kit ($55) which included all the consumable supplies needed to refine circuit boards and other gold bearing material. It included Precipitant, Precious Metal detection liquid, Ammonia detection liquid, urea and the SubZero powder (safer then liquid Nitric/HCL solution).
Dissolving the gold:
The acid should be at room temperature. Place your boards in a plastic mesh, or plastic wire basket or a plastic mesh bag. The acid has to pass through the basket or bag, so make sure it is either plastic mesh or plastic wire.
Add the basket or bag, with your boards, to the acid solution. The metal will begin to fizz and give off an invisible or slightly brown fume. You can cover the container, but do not seal it tightly because you don't want a built up of gas pressure. You can speed up the process by heating your solution, but this creates added hazard- hot acid fumes more rapidly and is more corrosive. At room temperature, dissolving time is usually between 1 hour and 2 hours. Check the boards to make sure all the gold has been removed and dissolved into the aqua regia acid.
Remove the basket from the acid, taking care not to drip acid anywhere. The aqua regia is not used up yet, so you can use the same acid to dissolve the gold off more boards. You can continue to use this acid, several times, to dissolve the metal off additional boards until it is no longer effective. The acidy boards should be rinsed (with water) in another bucket. Any brown particles are likely to be gold and should be recovered and put into a future refining bath. If you believe that some solid bits have fallen into the solution during dissolving, then (after the acid is no longer effective in dissolving any more metal), you should pour the solution into a different bucket, leaving the solids behind. Any solids left in the solution will contaminate the pure gold you are about to precipitate.
Adjusting the pH & Precipitating the pure gold:
When the aqua regia is no longer effective (no longer dissolves the gold on the boards), it is time to recover the pure gold from the solution.
The acid will be a dark, emerald green color and should be clear, like Coca Cola, not murky or muddy looking (nothing floating inside the dark waters). If the acid is murky, it may contain particles and should be decanted into another bucket or it should be filtered.
Now add a pinch of urea to the dark acid solution. If it fizzes, add additional urea until it no longer fizzes. When there is no longer any fizzing, add 11 tablespoons of Storm Precipitant for every ounce of dissolved metal (dissolved metal content, not just dissolved gold content). Measure out and add the precipitant all at the same time. Immediately, the acid will change to a muddy brown appearance as brown particles of gold form in the acid. This brown "mud" is, despite its appearance, pure gold. If you want to speed the precipitation process, you can add the precipitant to very hot water before adding to the acid. This technique will precipitate the gold in only about 5 minutes (30-120 minutes is normal when not using this technique), but be aware that hot precipitant has a very strong, pungent odor.
Once precipitation is complete, test the acid for the presence of dissolved gold with Precious Metal Detection Liquid.
Testing to make sure no dissolved gold is discarded:
Precious metal detection liquid will detect the presence of dissolved gold, down to 4 parts of gold per million parts of acid, detecting the presence of about 1/1,000th of 1 gram of dissolved gold. Testing for the presence of dissolved gold is absolutely necessary to insure that no dissolved gold is thrown away with the waste acid.
To test, first immerse the end of the stirring rod in the acid. Remove it and touch that end to a paper towel to make a wet spot. Put a drop of gold detection liquid on the wet spot on the paper towel. If any gold is still dissolved in the acid, the wet spot will turn a purple-black or a purple-brown. If you see this color change then give the precipitant more time to work and/or add more precipitant.
Rinsing the pure gold:
The acid should now be a clear, amber or a green color with a brown mud at the bottom. Pour off the acid into another container. If you have a filter, you can use it. Do not pour off any of the mud. The mud is pure gold.
When all the acid is poured off, add tap water to the mud. Stir and let the mud settle. Pour off the water into the container with the acid. If you have a filter, you can use it. Do not pour off any particles of brown. Repeat this rinsing 3-4 times or more.
Testing to insure purity:
Test with aqua ammonia to insure high purity of your gold. Place a drop of aqua ammonia test liquid on the wet gold mud. If you see any change in color to blue, even a very pale blue, rinse and test again.
Give the mud a last rinse, this time with distilled water.
Drying and melting:
Rinse the mud into a beaker that is made to be heated or into glass coffee pot. Put the beaker or pot on a hot plate to dry the mud. Do not preheat the hot plate or thermal shock may cause the beaker to break.
Melt the dried mud (now a powder). If using a torch, first wrap the powder in tissue paper and then soak that in alcohol. Also, use a Burno crucible. This will keep your gold from being blown away by the gas pressure from the torch. The gold will again take on the appearance of metal. If you've followed the instructions carefully, the gold will be 99.95% pure with virtually no losses.
- Bend, Oregon
June , 2008
Hi, Mark. I appreciate your highly detailed response and I'm sure many of the readers do as well. But nobody should get a pass :-)
The statement that you'll get ten times as much by refining the gold yourself as from a refinery sounds exaggerated. Yes, you could latch up with a questionable refinery, but many times a careful assay is done that says exactly how much gold is in the product and you can clearly see what they are offering to pay per ounce, and it's a lot more than ten percent.
You tell readers to cut the tabs off circuit boards, break open the chips with a hammer in search of gold, and 'discard' the rest. This affirms the claim of so many environmental organizations that amateur recycling is a wrecking ball that scatters toxic waste everywhere.
Finally, these instructions sound applicable only to your own electronics that you may happen to have on hand; because if you buy e-waste, refine it, and sell the metal you are engaging in a regulated business which requires a host of permits and close monitoring by the regulatory authorities.
Thanks again for the great detail!
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
July 12, 2008
Can somebody tell me if the older computer monitors more gold and other metals than the CPU? I have been ripping apart computer monitors, (understand the lead aspect...doing it safe), and been noticing these circuit boards are huge with little black platinum chips..........I guess anything on the difference of monitors and CPU would be great.Elroy Kauffman
- Fort Carson, Colorado
August 21, 2008
Well after reading all of that mmmm! I've got about a Kg of fingers that I wanted to get the gold out of, but to get hold of all the chemicals is a mission. So can I sell it anyway and what about the actual boards with all the resistors do people buy that to? or is there any money to be made out of this stuff? And to all those out there DANGER. FROM READING THIS PAGE IT SHOULD BE CLEAR...jason davis
- durban south Africa
September 20, 2008
dear ted mooney,
If everyone listened to people like you we would never have successful entrepreneurs Sounds like you don't want to let the secrets out. Give these people more credit than what you are,,,,,everyone came on this site to get information not to be scolded about "chemicals", proper training, and a bunch of other crap.
- Jennings, Louisiana
September 21, 2008
Hi, Scott. No, not everyone came to this site already knowing that recovery of metals from e-waste can be dangerous and an environmental problem. Some came here open-minded, having perhaps a loosely formed idea that it might be an interesting hobby or good business, and wanting to hear all sides before deciding whether to go further. They've heard my side and they've heard a lot of other sides. You can tell them your side in detail as long as you cease the slurs, flaming, and ad hominem attacks.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
September 21, 2008
I will say this that I worked for years for a company that dealt in used computer and data equip, I would make a weekly trip to Con ED in NYC to pick up their old equip then haul it to Long Island to be dumped in a container for China to be reclaimed. Due to the hazardous nature of this stuff the only place was china to ship to. I have hauled tons of circuit boards to FL for gold extraction then hauled the remains to a shipper for transport to China. This gold salvage is dangerous why not do copper, aluminum etc.James Ganley
- Cushing, Wisconsin
October 14, 2008
hey gold miners guess what if you just burn all the parts you have down to ash then wala
you have ash and steel and copper and GOLD but the steel and other metals are lighter than gold so if you heated your melting pot to the temp it takes to melt gold then take everything out and pan out the gold you can make a simple furnace out of a coffee can some charcoal and 1-2 lbs of air pressure put a hole in the can at the bottom of the can so you can add steady air into the charcoal and add the charcoal around your crucible then put a lid on the crucible set two red bricks on top of the can to cover it, add dirt to cover the whole burning can and bricks let it burn and get hot with 1 lb of air blowing into the can
let 'er burn for about and hour then shut her down everything is by the way very very hot be careful don't get burnt wear gloves now uncover her and look you have all the metal melted
you have ash,pins,silver,platinum,gold,now what you need to do is smash it all down real fine
then pan out the heavy metals in a gold pan this will separate the steel from the heavies
then you can put the whole thing under water to clean it then you need to fire her back up and melt the gold all together I got 3.3 grams the first time and I SOLD IT TO A JEWELRY STORE AND LOOK DUDES NO CHEMICALS WERE USED AND I GOT A CLEAN BURN.....
hobbyist - OIL CITY, Pennsylvania
October 26, 2008
I have dissolved some scrap/ raw material in aqua regia; now please guide me on how to get back gold and silver from aqua regia. please give me formula.
thanks to u.
scrap - Lahore, Pakistan
November 10, 2008
I recently learned of a fella in Colorado who has discovered a safe way of gold recovery and they have been working on refining the process since April 2008. Search "Amalgamite". Very interesting. I have yet to try it. Came by here in search of what electronic parts might be worthy of salvage. Thank you.Charlie Little
- Mansfield, Arkansas
November 18, 2008
Dear Mr Panjala Mukesh,
I would like to know more about gold plating system. What kind of chemical is used to remove gold from electronic part and how to mix this chemical For a liter of chemical to mix how many gram of NaOH,SMNBS and potassium cyanide powder is needed. Thank you in advance for your information.
- GEORGE TOWN, PENANG
December 26, 2008
I have been dissolving gold plate in mercury from computer contacts and pins for 6 months in a soft sealed glass container...I now have a fair bit of amalgam that I have thought to gravity strain thru coffee filters in the same glass apparatus...any thoughts and any ideas who might save me the time of processing 40-50 lbs of sister boards, memory stix and processor chips?alan patruse
- Edison, New Jersey
January 5, 2009
amalgamite process is just bismuth,it will work to get PM's but they all will be together and require further processing. remember if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. for plated items a sulphuric cell is probably best,for stuff on printed circuit boards side cutters and a band saw to get rid of most of the unwanted material,then an AP bath. a mix of HCl and 3% hydrogen peroxide and a fish tank bubbler,but please do not try this stuff without the proper equipment. and if you use the amalgamate thing please don't do it on the kitchen stove like they say you can. PCB's contain resins and other things that when burned could kill you. unless you have tons of material to work with(computer stuff) karat gold is another matter. your best to dump it on ebay you will usually get more than it's worth anyway and save yourself a headache.Fan Kemmit
- Minot, North Dakota
February 3, 2009
Well people, you have been taken. There is a lot of information on this site, some is good but incomplete, some is just plain BS, and the rest is questionable. You are being blinded with too much information so that you can not sort out what is pertinent from what is not. What this amounts to is that no one wants you to try this, they want to buy your scrap for half of what it's worth and process it themselves. There are many different methods outlined here, some are simple, some are not. If you are going to try this read everything you can find, pick the simplest least toxic method and do only small batches. I have a degree in Chemistry, and can tell you that some of this will work, I was here because I have a small amount of E-trash that I wanted to mine for gold to use in a home smelting operation (your not supposed to do that either). From what I have read here I'll be sending my E-trash to the dump, it's just not worth it. If you decide to go ahead, be very very careful, in my opinion, of all the outlined methods the copper removal method is probably best for home refiners. copper sulfate is available in drug stores and in farm supply stores, it is used as a fungicide in vineyards, and to limit algae growth in ponds. Sulfuric acid is available as battery acid in automotive parts stores and as acid drain cleaner in home improvement stores, be careful and remember never pore water into acid, always pore the acid into the water. The person posting this method left out some details, use a low voltage power supply to remove the copper. A battery charger might work but the power supply from one of the computers your trashing could work. Use a voltage meter to determine which leads are which. You will want the 6 volt leads. Again I haven't tried this, I am expounding on a method listed previously on this site, and adding missing details. This method is described as a copper refining method in the book, "Modern Welding, copyright 2000," and should produce little toxic waste since all components are reusable.Vern McNew
- Cleveland, Arkansas
February 8, 2009
I want to thank Mr. Alcorn for his response. It was exactly what I needed. I have no desire to get myself killed playing with chemicals and electricity, but was trying to figure out how much I could make per board. I have a good mix of low-grade and very high-grade (audio boards with gold-plated connectors) boards, but did not know what to expect money-wise. The only other thing I need to figure out is if there are buyers out there for less than a ton of scrap. I currently have about 2 large boxes to dispose of. Thanks again!Ralph A.
- Dayton, Ohio
March 3, 2009
Hello, Panjala Mukesh.
Are you aware of any companies in India, that will extract gold and other metals from scrapped computer chips, wafers and PCB boards? Mukesh Bhai
Buyer - Navsari, Gujrat India (also US)
April 7, 2009
I came to this site for information. A curiosity.
There are people in other countries wanting information on how to reclaim gold. Some on here say it's not worth the risk and effort to make a .40 cent profit, but in some of these countries a .40 cent profit is a good days wage which means you may be able to feed your family one more day.
Others come here thinking they're going to get rich quick. That's highly unlikely. Myself, I'm Disabled and if I can make a few bucks that's great. Especially if it keeps all this stuff out of the dump and get's it recycled.
Some say take it to a recycling point and sell it. It's not worth the risk. The response is they are all crooks and only pay them half what it's worth. How about I bring you scrap electronics that I think has a $1,000 dollars of gold in it and I demand you pay me what it's worth. Then you have to salvage and process this mess with all the risk and now you have a $1,000 dollars worth of gold to sell. All the expense, risk, plus all the other costs including getting rid of the waste product witch you will have to pay for out of pocket. What, You don't want to be the buyer anymore. Also, if I'm the buyer and you come in with a small quantity of stuff, at $20.00 bucks an hour for wage and benefits I've already lost money on the deal, So sure someone with a semi trailer load is going to get the better deal. There's money in the volume. After reading these comments here and learning more about the process I would be glad to get 10% of it's value for what I have laying around knowing it's not being dumped. Unfortunately, in my area you're not allowed to send it to the dump and the alternative is to pay a fee to dispose of it. Like $5 to $10 dollars just for the computer monitor.
Having been to this site I'll be glad just to find a place that would take it off my hands. I also know Quite a few people who have 2 to 4 computers piled in corners that are perfectly good and functional who hate to get rid of them because they do work. Problem is the their way out of date and way to slow and no one wants them. Most can't even be used on the web because they can't be upgrade to function with most web sites. To Slow For The New Software & To Little Memory That Can't Be Upgraded.
What would be a better alternative would be to have a small surcharge to cover reclaim and processing of all the materials involved so none of this stuff has to go to the dump. Also maybe a small $5 deposit so when it's taken to a recycling center you get your deposit back and for those who don't want to bother taking it to the recycler then I'm sure someone else would for the $5 bucks. Unless your the person who thinks he's getting ripped off and wants the $5 dollars back from the person who took it there for you. I'm sure he'll be willing to help you out next time. LOL...
Hobby - Bushnell, Illinois
April 16, 2009
The amount of info here is awesome. I wanted to give some of you who just want to get rid of this stuff, but actually have to pay to recycle it an alternative. I work for a major electronics retailer, two word name, and we did not go bankrupt... We offer free electronics recycling, or if a fee is required, we give it back as a gift card. We also have kiosks in every store to recycle batteries, ink cartridges and cell phones. You can also trade in those phones for gift cards on our web site as well.
I have the gold bug... It is infectious. I also am the only child of a chemist. If you think you are doing this safely, you are fooling yourself. Heavy metal poisoning is a TERRIBLE way to die. And those brown fumes one posting describes... they dissipate, but don't disappear. None of this backyard reclamation stuff does. The laws aren't there to keep the small guy down. They are there to keep my kids from getting poisoned by a neighbor. No one wants a meth lab next door to them, and most of what's described here is only less hazardous because the chemist isn't armed. Sell the e-scrap if you have large amounts of boards, etc. to a reputable refiner. Everyone has the cost/benefit screwed up here. Take the money you get and buy Gold Eagles, or maple leafs, or Krugerrands or what ever. That's a safe way to turn this into real gold you can trade on.clifford vorrier
- Valparaiso, Indiana USA
May 29, 2009
Mr. Mooney, I agree with Scott from Jennings, Louisiana. And, I now see that you and your company are sponsoring this forum, which explains a lot. We have now all read your warnings about chemistry possibly being dangerous. It, like many other things in life, such as electricity, both deserve and demand "respect". Moreover, knowledgeable recyclers were not born as such. They somewhere along the way learned to ply a trade, which your readers are trying to do. Can you blame them ? So, one, can you now cease with the preaching about the dangers of chemistry since you have now more than over-stated your point(s) ? Two, people have come to this site hoping to find information to help them achieve their goals. However, I agree with Scott, you are either obviously withholding the answers; otherwise, it would appear you don't know them in the first place.
So, what are you fishing for by sponsoring this site ?
Now for my story. I have been trying for somewhat over a year to develop both a working chemical process AND the mechanical processing of both handling and filtering these leaching solutions. When I say "develop" in terms of the chemistry, that basically means trial-and-error experimentation with both the leaching and precipitation techniques that permeate the Internet as well as many books on the subject that do exist out there. One of the things I have learned is that apparently any given technique may or may not work depending on a slew of variables. For example, I have mechanically gleaned the computer PCB's from over 300 computers, disk drives, connectors, etc., etc, and have stripped many components from them such as aluminum heat sinks, fans, batteries, etc. (So, there is NO question that quite a bit of gold is involved.) Like many folks, I use a pre-bath of dilute nitric acid to get many of the base metals out of the picture (including silver and palladium, both of which are totally soluble in nitric acid). I do two other baths which will get rid of the tin paste (metastannic acid) and as much iron
as possible. (I regard the first of these two baths, one of which I discovered in my own experiments, as my trade secret.) I then use a dilute formula of aqua regia. I then tried using urea to kill the nitric acid oxidation potential (ORP). Then, I used sodium bisulfite to attempt the precipitation. Two (one-gallon) attempts failed. What I now suspect is that either (1) urea does NOT do what many people claim it does, or (2) the involvement of at least 12 metals and other compounds in e-scrap has altered and complicated that issue. Plus, another interesting thing can be found in the book, "Recovery and Refining of Precious Metals" by C.W. Ammen. I have both editions of his book, one of which is quite recent. Actually, what IS interesting IS that NO reference to UREA even exists in either of his books ANYWHERE. Could it be that he knows of what he DOES NOT speak ? Now, I estimate that I have somewhere between 50 to 100 ounces of gold sitting in my 50 gallons of aqua regia. One thought that I have had is that maybe the a/r is still not loaded enough. (Something akin to "critical mass" when one discusses nuclear technology?). Also, full-strength aqua regia is reputed (by Walter Lashley of A.S.A.T. a well-respected organization in Silver City, NM) to hold about 12.5 ounces of gold per gallon. The next thing that I am going to try is Sulfur Dioxide (a very toxic gas) as the precipitator. Mr. Mooney, I will join you (in part) about cautioning your contributors to this forum and it's other readers about chemicals. Folks, please have the proper "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" for the chemicals you use and how you use them. Use the proper gloves, respirators, eye protection, and even chemical protective suits. But, I will also say that life is a gamble. But, with caution and good judgment, you can reduce it to a mere calculated risk. And, if you want to go for the gold, GO FOR IT !
Mr. Mooney, please note that I am NOT asking you for guidance, advice, recommendations, or anything else. I, too, started reading this forum looking for some answers.
However, I now know I will not find them here. If it takes more experimentation, then so be it. One of my aunts used to say, "Face Facts Fairly". Mr. Mooney, you are not telling anyone anything. And, many of the responders are even loaded with hot air, BS, baloney, and misinformation. And, UNLIKE Mr. Ammen, they DO speak of what they DO NOT know. However, let me add that Scott from La. neither slurred nor attacked you. He spoke the truth. If your fat and fragile ego can't either take a little honest criticism or face facts fairly, then may I suggest that you grow up.
- Raleigh, North Carolina
May 29, 2009
Bruce, you wonder what I am "fishing for". You can't judge the forest from a single tree. This thread is but one of 60,000 on this site, and I've already said that it's only peripherally related to the theme of my site, i.e., metal finishing. This website is my only business, so the continuing allusions to the vested interests of my company are truly getting silly.
As for me not knowing certain answers, well, duhhh! -- I moderate a 60,000-thread public forum and don't claim to have the answers to every possible topic. But we've printed every submittal we've received on this thread, so if you don't see certain info, it's because no reader has yet provided it, not because we're withholding it.
You didn't see Scott's actual posting, you see it with words left out -- not because of a fragile ego, but because this is a "G" rated site, visited by thousands of elementary school children every day, who don't need to see vulgarities. Ad hominem slurs lead only to an endless waste of time like your posting and this response. Ad hominems interrupt the discussion and spoil a site, and I don't know how you can possibly be reading this thread and not realize the extra time you and everybody is forced to waste because of them.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
June 2, 2009
is the gold on the boards/discs that I have real gold? The round discs that I have seam to what appears to be gold. I have bean able to peel the strips off fairly easily. There also is a band or ring of pins in the center of the disc. Is there any way to tell by research perhaps on this particular board by the name brand or manufacturer(that also appears to be gold as well)"TRILLIUM,made in USA 1988". assembly numbers and or serial"(S/N)"numbers,etc. I believe they were some kind of laser control boards.Yaminah Underwood
hobbyist - Watsonville, California
July 5, 2009
Hi, to remove gold from copper backed fingers simply remove the copper backed gold and dissolve the copper in Ferric Chloride, let solution work for approx. and 1 hr, discard and repeat for an extra 1/2 hr, there will be some fiberglass left as well as gold, do not worry it will help when melting with borax [linked by editor to product info], as it will form a glass layer around gold button and will help remove some impurities,if you wish to brighten it add gold to HCl for approx. 15 min, neutralise with Baking Soda, wash and collect gold, you can then melt by using a crucible and Borax, add approx. 1" of Borax to bottom of crucible, make a depression, add gold foil, add another 1" layer of Borax to top and melt, Borax will help remove impurities, Note not all gold foil is the same quality, this method will only recover gold in it current state; e.g., - 8K, 12K etc.., if you want 24K gold you will need to process further using Aqua regia, hope this helps.Rhangy D Smith
- Brisbane, QLD, Australia
July 17, 2009
SAFER THAN NITRIC ACID. I was digging around for a SAFER way to dissolve Gold with an acid mixed with hydrochloric acid instead of using nitric acid, well I found something that works. It is called SUBZERO, its a substitute for nitric acid and is much safer.
SUBZERO: This material is pH neutral and is only a substitute for nitric when added to hydrochloric or muriatic acid.
This is cool to know and I hope it helps others, but you have to dig around on the internet for SUBZERO and see who sells it. I think I got 10 lbs for 100 bucks and the shipping was extra, but hey, this is awesome stuff and it works for me. Hope any of this helps you too.
Be safe and good luck, there is gold out there.
- Chico, California
July 22, 2009
Like many others before myself, I have found this thread seeking answers to extracting precious metals (particularly gold, of course) from electronics scrap. I have a 4.5 pound cigar box filled with what appears to be mil-spec, gold filled and plated nickel wire clippings from transistors and other devices after being soldered in. Some of it consists of the complete transistors. It is separated into various plastic boxes and tubes and one has a date of 1966. A conservative guess is that half of the weight (about 2.3 pounds) is nothing but gold filled and plated nickel. All of the boxes and tubes have markings such as: .030 Ni Au/F, T.S.=55 lbs; .028 Ni Au/P, P.T. 44.0 lbs; .032 Ni Au/F, T.S.>65 lbs; .020 Du Au/P, T.S.=25.7 lbs; and .017 Ko Au/P, P.T. 21.0 lbs. Obviously, the numbers such as .032 and .017 indicate the thickness of the gold plating. After reading this entire thread, I have come to the conclusions that
1. there are people out there who have successfully been able to extract and/or refine much lower gold densities out of much higher volumes of base materials;
2. I don't trust professional refiners, and anyway, the quantity of stuff I have isn't worth their time or effort;
3. there are providers of kits, supplies and information; and
4. I am responsible and able to respect and recognize the dangers involved should I undertake this process myself.
- Peralta, New Mexico
August 5, 2009
a few drops of common bleach and hydrochloric acid will create chlorine gas, which dissolves gold. You would need to do this in a vial. You would also need to dissolve and remove the iron, copper that the gold plate over. I have already done this on a few CPU's. I had to pull with pliers every pin off the CPU's, and much was still left on them! I don't think this type of thing is a big of a hype as you'd think, unless you have loads of CPU's and free time.Steven Acocella
September 4, 2009
hi guys, one good way of helping to know what is going to the smelter. If it is at least 10k, buy the little gold test bottles ranging from 10k-24k.. you can make your own, but stick with the store bought stuff if you are new.. make sure you button you have is homogeneous and usually take a couple tests on different sides.. Last help I wanna give ya with E-scrap, you are working with materials that are a fraction of 1 percent gold.. Acid seems to be the easy way to do it, but there are chemicals designed for fractions of a percent.. Most, you can recycle your water and reduce your waste stream.. I agree cyanide is very toxic, but check the carcinogens in the chemicals you are currently working with..
If you really want to get gold out of scraps, find someone who is willing to teach you how to do it.. There is something to say about actually seeing it done over taking a book's or someone's "how to". Second, start with good equipment.. third, gold brings out the evil in men.. I lost more money in trusting people doing this.. "Learn from people, don't trust them"..
Acid works, but leeching is the way to go. To do this takes equipment and training.. I'm not saying to not do it, but see a process working before you try it..
also saw a guy wanted to use subzero with HCl.. also try, Sodium or Potassium Nitrate with HCl.. you can also use bleach or peroxide with HCl... In the long run just go out and buy a barrel of Nitric Acid.. It's a lot cheaper in the end.. good luck..james dinsdale
- Alamo, New Mexico
September 28, 2009
To Whom it may concern
I have been gathering old jewelry that has mainly tin and gold in it. I am not a chemist and I would like to separate the tin from the gold? Can someone please help me in doing this as I believe there is enough gold present to make it worth while.
hobbyist - Bangkok, Thailand
December 1, 2009
re: "One computer contains approx. $1.20 in precious metals and it cost approx. .80 cents to retrieve it"
I don't think so.
Many of us have, over the years, had electronics pieces in our hands that have reached 'worthless' value, except for the bright shiny bits of gold any fool can see here and there.
Considering original cost, one would assume CPUs have the greatest potential for precious metal content - they cost more than anything else found in most devices. I have 486 CPUs I paid $1,200 and $1,345 for - JUST THE CHIPs.
Given the small number of manufacturers of CPUs, one would think that by now, SOMEBODY would have posted a list of parts giving their approximate gold content. That's all I want - to find out what these parts are really worth - assuming all the gold could be recovered.
For each generation of chips, millions were made. So knowing how much gold is in each isn't rocket science, or even trial and error or 'assay'. For a given type, they're all gonna be the same. It's far easier to just 'look them up' than to refine over and over to find the same result. And refiners don't just do one chip - they like to do hundreds of pounds at a time - and that will be assorted scrap. Whatever it takes to get a pot full.
So back to the beginning - the CPU is the most valuable piece in there. How much gold is in them? They obviously aren't all the same, so there is no 'average' that means anything. The amount of gold seems to vary by anywhere from ten to fifty times.
And, Mr Mooney, might an external link to such a list be allowed?
Bill in Kansas
- Hutchinson, Kansas
Hi, Bill. Richard Alcorn has already posted some of that info on page 1 of this thread, claiming a value of "at least" a dollar for 486 processors and 65¢ for Pentiums.
I find his numbers exaggerated on the simple basis that if the desperate Indian and Chinese workers illustrated in all these videos were recovering 8 to 11 troy ounces of gold from each ton of boards as he claims is possible, they'd be millionaires rather than living in desperate poverty.
letter 41565 has additional estimates of the amount of gold on microprocessor pins.
If you find a list of what these components are worth, we can link to it as long as it's not a scam or promotion. With all of the world's environmental organizations begging people not to attempt recycling of e-waste, we are loathe to link to a site which tempts people to ignore those beseechings by inflating and overstating the value of this scrap and/or not printing both sides of the issue :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
December 31, 2009
hello my name is Don I have some gold from computer board but to make a long story short I ended up with some white sludge in with my gold what can take this away?Don Dunlap
gold issue - Evansville, Indiana
December 31, 2009
Hi, Don, and Happy New Year. I'm sure your situation is quite clear to you, but I don't know what you are talking about.
Did the plaster ceiling fall onto your pile of gold during a heavy rain? :-)
Seriously, what is this white sludge or, at least, where did it come from? Were you mixing some sort of chemicals in an attempt to dissolve gold and they created the sludge? If so, what chemicals were you mixing? What kind of gold are you talking about: chopped off gold plated fingers, some sort of gold in some sort of solution? How do you even know the gold is in with that "white sludge"? Or maybe the white sludge is the gold?
Please let us know what is going on because, sorry, I am just not understanding your situation. Thanks!
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
January 3, 2010
I was in the refining business for years and the only way to reclaim almost all of the gold from scrap electronics is not safe or for amateurs. I bought the clipped ends of boards where the electroplating was and used sodium cyanide (yea, the gas chamber stuff). The ends were placed in a vat of cyanide and the cyanide was heated. The cyanide causes the gold to go into ion form (in suspension). The formerly plated clips are removed. The cycle is completed by pouring hydrogen peroxide into the pot which produces copious fuming of deadly cyanide gas. but it also causes the gold to fall out in a solid form to the bottom of the pot, which is recovered by using a vacuum filter and then melting the gold. The gold should be .9994 at this time. I recommend that you do not try this at home. It is dangerous and deadly.
I have written about the cyanide extraction method which I don't recommend. Another more time consuming but safer method is to extract the gold by using aqua-regia acid. place the material in the solution and let it dissolve. Neutralize the nitric with a suitable agent (read up on this). The gold is now in suspension (ion form) with the copper and other metals dissolved by the solution. Bubble SO2 gas through the solution and the gold should fall out as a brown mud-like dust. Run it through a vacuum filter to catch it. Melt it and pour and it should be about .9994 fine. Melt this again( I would pour the hot gold into a tall metal tube of water being stirred by an electric drill paint mixer. The result is pellets that are easier to dissolve.) in aqua-regia and repeat the neutralization and SO2 treatment. Melt the resulting gold mud again and the gold should be .9999 fine.ken retherford
- Alabaster, Alabama
January 7, 2010
For my own educational research, I'd like to know any non cyanide based methods on ways to recover copper, gold, and silver from PCBs and other electronics. I'm not personally making an attempt, no backyard recycling is being done here-just curious about the chemical process and requirements.
How is it done?! :) any information is greatly appreciated.
- Dallas, Texas
Ed. note: It's a long thread, and confusing to those who don't understand it, Kristen, but your question has been answered repeatedly already, including in the entry from Ken R immediately above yours. Good luck.
January 28, 2010
I myself own a recycling company and we deal directly in scrap computers. I think the thing that most people need to do when thinking about refining them selves is to actually go and look at what a large refiner has. there are certain components in a computer that will be easier to refine, processors, fingers pins, etc. The truth is though, I make my living off buying and selling scrap computers and boards. There is money but you just gotta know what to do with it. Oh also, the more boards you have the more money you are going to get.Zack Morris
- St. Louis Missouri
February 10, 2010
Do not try to recover gold until you have learned cover to cover the book written by Hoke, 1940s or so
Refining Precious Metal Wastes [link is to info about book at Amazon]]. This is a complete guide to PM recovery also try a website called www.goldrefiningforum.com/ best place on the web to find out how gold is refined along with other PMs, most of the people have tried and tested Hoke's instructions and actually do refine gold for a living or hobby. As for gold amount, I removed gold connectors from a video card and only got around .1 grams of gold/copper fingers, so a Troy ounce will take a few video cards to make.
Other examples 600 grams of RAM fingers turned into 3 grams of pure gold, yields are getting smaller with newer cards and RAM.
- Melbourne, Australia
April 7, 2010
Okay people I've been through this all before. If you want to do anything you need to have chemistry know how.
It cost about 2,000 for start up and here is why
Spill Control Station
Chemical Detection (Gases)
Splash guard gloves
Splash guard shield
And full hazmat suit
Chemicals and equipment:
All types of glass wear
Stands and clamps
Burners and tubes
Counter top protectors
A good furnace
High temperature Gloves
All this will run you around 2,000 for start up...
Gold is going for 1.1k an oz...
Please note... this is not to be taken lightly at all. If your looking for a quick and easy money no.. this is a business not a thing to make money on the side. And treat it as which. Store all your chemicals at eye level and make sure you have fans running gasses outside and if you really don't want to pump outside you can if chlorine gas is being put off bubble it through water and it will be absorbed into it.
- United States, Indiana
April 15, 2010
SIR, I NEED PROCESS TO REMOVE GOLD PLATED ON SINGLE AND DOUBLE EDGED CONNECTORS WHICH IS USED IN RELAYS AND PCB BOARDS AND ALSO PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW MUCH IS THE EXPECTED QUANTITY OF GOLD WHICH WOULD EXTRACT FROM IT.ASHISH DHARIWAL
scrap merchant - CHENNAI, TAMILNADU, INDIA
July 28, 2010
Reading this thread for several months now, I have come to realize that many people think this is an easy job, and all you have to do is mix a few chemicals together and "bam" you're rich... I own a retail computer store in the front, and process about 4 ton of e-waste a month in the back...
I sell the scrap metal at .05c a pound, the aluminum at .55c a pound, the copper at 2.20 a pound, the mixed copper and aluminum at 1.10 a pound, the plastic at .20c a pound, the high grade PCB's at 2.00 a pound, the low grade at .50c a pound, the memory modules at 4.00 a pound and I keep the cpu's for myself and refine using the acid method in my garage.
I spent 10,000 on equipment, and pay 500 a week in labor just to retrieve the waste... then another grand at home to process the cpu's... I get about an ounce a month on the cpu's...
all in all, my initial investment was recouped in 2 months, and see a net return of 6 grand a month from processing e-waste, and only refine the cpu's...
forgot to mention, it cost another grand for a chemist to teach you for a week to do it correctly..
my advise? be a middle man and just move the waste to brokers... you'll make more and cost you less, and you don't have to worry about death or explosions...
- Wichita, Kansas
September 3, 2010
I am using the sub zero method to dissolve gold from electronic scrap. I separate all the different metal types and dissolve the gold plated parts. after I rise and have no evidence of impurities, no blue color on rinsed mud; I dry and melt the brown mud with a torch. My problem is every batch I melt, the mud turns into a heavy black glass with tiny bubbles of gold in it. what am I doing wrong and how can I fix it.Mark Robertson
hobbyist - bronson, Michigan
October 11, 2010
You list out those nasty chemicals in the fumes that MUST be vented to protect YOUR health. Have you figured out where those nasty fumes go once they are outside your building? It's called pollution! And that affects MY health.
For anyone else trying to process electronics down to the gold, I would repeat a phrase I have heard about investing in the stock market. "Bulls make money, Bears make money but Pigs get slaughtered!" That is if you are trying to squeeze every last cent from an investment chances are you will end up lossing money.
Collect your electronics. Break them apart to get the PC boards. Then SELL the boards to someone who knows what they are doing and is fully regulated. Take a little profit and save your life.
- St. Paul, Minnesota USA
October 11, 2010
Hello, I just acquired a good number of riser cards from some very old HP lab equipment - The most advanced IC's on the boards are proprietary ~10-pin IC's, no microprocessors or anything. Any attempts to date these boards has failed. I believe they were used for some sort of RF system, possibly signal generators or something like that. They all have card-edge style connectors on the sides, and HP numbering on them.
ALL of the traces on all of the boards are 100% gold looking - There is no "green-screen" on any of these boards, and interestingly, some of them almost look like the traces were machined instead of etched.
Does anyone know how much these would be worth? I am just looking for a ballpark figure, I am a college student and I would like to try and sell them on eBay.
Thanks in advance!
Student/Hobbyist - Howell, Michigan
October 13, 2010
What everyone is trying to do or seeking here is called "HYDROMETALLURGY" a complicated, multi-metallic extraction process.
I see over inflated estimates, deadly processes and just plain stupidity here. The aforesaid mentioned processes, even those trying to be "green" are full of errors, deadly and down right WRONG. Uneducated use will KILL you or your family. Do it right or not at all. Take a high school or college level chemistry course, understand the difference between an ion, atom, and protons, what pH means (critical to hydrometallurgy) redox chemistry (also critical), know how to use a chart of metallic valences and what that means. etc, etc, etc.
A. You will NOT make money at this, PERIOD. Most intelligent people realize this sooner or later... the companies selling chemicals or "magic leachants"(acidic or basic formulas, bromine, chlorine or iodine chemistry or deadly sodium cyanide, nitric acid, equipment, etc) will be making "gold" from your foolishness, you will end up disappointed and maybe dead, crippled, blind or VERY SLOWLY DYING.
(Most chemical poisoning is LONG term, accumulative and unnoticeable in the short term, years later you may become blind, missing teeth, or even have heart or lung disease, breathing problems or even worse.)
B.Many states now make it a FELONY to possess chemicals of certain types, chemical glassware, etc. (Thanks to the idiots operating meth labs). I have a LICENSED Assay and Recovery Lab here in Texas. The licensing Authority is the Department of Public Safety, Drug Enforcement Division. Ownership of a single beaker in the state of Texas can result in high fines and a stretch in a Texas State Prison, and you are a convicted felon for life. A licensed lab is also subject to an unannounced inspection at any time during work hours by the DPS, EPA and the local fire department.
C. State and Federal EPA and Law Enforcement agents are proactively searching out illegal labs and a legitimate chemical house will be in deep crap if they sell to someone if they do not have proper documentation and will report YOUR purchase to the State and Federal DEA, EPA and possibly the FBI as required by state and federal law. I've seen this happen in Texas, California and Oklahoma, it's no joke! Be an idiot and pay the price!
D. Sell your scrap to a reputable refiner, David H. Fell in L.A. California is where I send my scrap, dore' or fine gold, it is NOT worth your time, effort or safety to attempt this at home. I usually take my gold to 99.98 fine and get a return of 97%. I have used them for 18 years, always fair, always prompt.
E. How do you KNOW that you have pure gold? How do you assay it? Do you even know what an assay is? One single typical "OLD" motherboard has less than $0.50 values in it at current gold prices. (10/12/10) Do the math! Others here have made outrageous claims as to the values recovered.
F. Amman and others have published very good books, some indoor suggestions are foolish and should NEVER be done in your basement or garage, BUT FAILURE to follow proper PPE (Look it up!)procedure as described time and time again, because YOU THINK YOU KNOW BETTER is totally stupid. YOU CAN ACCIDENTALLY CREATE EXPLOSIVE GASSES and POWDERS (Fulminates, mercury, lead, gold, silver and other metallics) from the chemistry involved. Explain that to the Police, Fire Department, EMT's, EPA, your insurance companies and your pissed off neighbors why your house or garage is laying in their yard or why their dog, cat or child is dead.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND, you are doing a VERY DANGEROUS process.
Remember, this site is about metal finishing, which requires training and schooling to do it properly.
Electrochemical Engineer - Alto, Texas
November 4, 2010
I wish to find a honest-fairly honest metals firm to melt down and reclaim my gold scraps. I have collected 5-10 ounces of gold in various karat weights. Simply, I was a student of jewelry and collected all my broken stuff. Can anyone suggest where I can find a gold scrap reclamation company? One that won't just rob me (completely)?
I could torch everything into a mass-ingot, but that is still going to leave me with a selling problem for my odd karat mixture of gold and other various metals.
There are many posts about all the processes of separating metals, but the chemicals and the experience are lacking in my case. Therefore, I would not like to develop cancer or lung problems for a few ounces of gold whatever the price.
The internet searches have led me to many dubious sites.
- Denver, Colorado, USA
Ed. note: Recommendations from people you don't know, on an internet that is full of scammers, spammers, and shills posting with fictitious names and posing as satisfied customers is not the place to get a solid commercial recommendation Mark :-)
To try to insure that this site does not become one of those "dubious sites", we print only technical recommendations, not commercial suggestions. Please look in the yellow pages, drive around your town, or check the trade journals serving the recycling industry and decide for yourself who looks honest and reputable. Good luck.
February 28, 2011
To whom expertise,i am student from Malaysia. I am doing research about LCA in extacting gold. I needs to know the contents of gold stripper and also their percent. So, that I can knows the environmental impacts of gold stripper.
March 8, 2011
Hello everyone, I've been using the AP method to recover gold from electrical parts. For the first time I had a white paste drop out of the mixture. Would anyone know what it might be? Thank You.Rhett Kirkland
silversmith - Archer, Florida, U.S.A.
May 6, 2011
Regarding the old cell phones or circuit boards from cellphones, it's a lot of trouble, it will not yield enough results from the amount of labor you have to put into it. You are better selling to a place that specializes in cell phone recycling and just moving it. Not to mention the danger of doing it yourself..Jason Lee
- Orlando Florida
May 10, 2011
a while back we needed to sale a lot of gold jewelry. I had maybe about 2 pounds, sorry to say diamonds too. I got around 2500 dollars, so I got very interested in it. could you help me in knowing what has the most gold content?Terry Hardy
hobbyist - Lenoir City, Tennessee
May 13, 2011
Great information everyone, I come here to read and compare notes based on my experience of less than 6 months in e-waste. I would like to speak to retirees, disabled individuals working at home for a little extra money. Instead of sounding like I know a lot, I will say I know about 3 useful things so far.
#1. Handle Volume
#2. Get paid for Scrap metals
#3. Save up Gold
If you put yourself in a position to recycle all metal (gold is the last on my list), you can recover approx $5 per old computer (20-28 lbs per computer tower). This is scrap steel, aluminum and copper in various grades and quantities. You break everything down into buckets of similar parts. Even hard drives are separated into little tiny pieces...I even save the platters for their 0.10 value of platinum. Power transformers 0.22 lb/copper wire(#3 copper)1.10 lb/ motherboards 2.00 lb/hard drives(aluminum) 0.80 lb/gold plated chips & ram(?). Go to your local recycling centers and show them what you have, you will learn exactly how much you can get locally for the basic metals. This is 2011 prices mind you, not 2007 when some of these threads were started. Save all your gold pieces and tuck them away, forget about them until you have about 20 lbs of various shiny goodies. Meanwhile, you can go buy a dead computer for about a buck and make about $3 profit...if you buy a lot of computers at a time. Volume is the key to making any kind of real money. I bought 100 old computers for $125, that's $500 at the scrap yard/e-cycler. The mother boards are selling for $2/Lb in Atlanta...you will have to make some calls for yourself to find the right one in your area. What the local scrap yard won't buy, the e-cyclers will. So you can take 4 computers apart per hour, 4 x $3 profit is $12/hr to sit at home and tinker in the shop. I wouldn't take out a mortgage on that, but it's extra money you can see within a few days vs. all that investment and risk just to get a little gold.
If you're like me and looking to make a few bucks without spending a fortune on equipment/chemicals/etc., you can work in your spare time sorting out and disassembling computers, dropping off at the scrap yard and when you have enough gold scrap pieces, cash in. Think of it like a 401k, 401,000 computers later and you're a millionaire!
For you guys buying gold scrap on ebay, put an ad your local paper and offer to buy old broken gold jewelry. Pawn shops do their homework and identify gold jewelry, pay about 25-35% of what it's worth, mail it in to a refiner and get a check for the balance. That's better (in my opinion) than buying E-Scrap just to get gold and discard the rest. There's more in scrap metals in each computer as far as my beer money is concerned :)
Lastly, you folks who say things like 'save the world' and 'environmentally safe fumes', etc...I would like to point out the fact that every computer board that is recycled, gets shredded and burned for recovery. Just like copper, steel, plastic, aluminum, rhodium, platinum. When you rush off to save the world by sending all your computer scrap to a big refiner, they are burning it all, plain and simple. They have the tall stacks that burn the smoke so you don't see how much pollution they are putting off. The responsible secondary smelters use scrubbers that collect the most deadly chemicals, but then that has to go somewhere. If you make recovery a lifestyle and earn as you go on the side, you don't feel so bad about recovering some gold and killing the little fishies! Lastly, the day will come that e-scrappers will exhaust the good stuff...high yield gold, blah blah, scrap steel, copper, aluminum will always be available and resources are being tapped at an alarming rate. China is buying everything we recycle for a reason. Your plastics are also worth $0.06/lb, so when oil continues to rise, plastics will also rise and soon plastic recovery will be on my list of things to collect for foldin' money.
- South, Alabama, USA
July 2, 2011
Not that anyone cares, but I'd still like to say:
I'm not particularly interested in trying to get gold from scrap. And DEFINITELY not for money. I am, among many other things, an artist, and I DO have definite interest in acquiring gold and silver for several of my projects. I found this site when looking on google to see if there was a simple way to separate gold and silver out of silver-plated, gold-plated, and gold-filled jewelry, such as simply heating it up and melting it apart in a crucible, or anything like that.
However, I have read this entire thread, every word, from top to bottom, and all I can say is... I am HORRIFIED. Chemistry is not my thing - I was good at it, but it never inflamed my imagination and passions the way the subjects I truly studied did. But even with just the minimum required chemistry to pass high school, and the mandatory general education courses in college, I can see that less than 1/10th of the people who have posted here should, logically, still be ALIVE after what they claim to have done/attempted.
Granted, gold is a fascinating material/substance for a vast number of reasons, the LEAST of which is it's dollar value. But to do things so boneheadedly stupid, just to get a small quantity of it... I cannot fathom it, I really cannot.
You want to recover it? Use the razor blade method a few people have mentioned. That's the ONLY safe method mentioned here. The rest... don't do it. Just DON'T.
I'm not sure what to do to get the gold and silver I need from my -plated and -filled jewelry, but I do not think I will find my answer here. Thanks anyways - and seriously, thanks for the nightmares. >shudder<
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA
August 2, 2011
I have very old circuit boards from IBM 360 mainframes and a few older SMS cards. I am wondering what the estimated yield would be for precious metals recovery.
I know that in the great IBM melt, when gold was $870, they were getting $22,000 per machine in gold, plus some platinum, palladium, silver, etc.
I am unsure if any specific part had more than others.
Is there anyone familiar with these old computer parts still out there who can provide additional information?
- brooklyn, New York usa
August 12, 2011
Hi, I took apart lots of electronics and I have a lot of circuit boards and chunks of jewelry. I was planing on using aqua regia but I'm afraid how many different metals would get dissolved. I was wondering is there was a way to precipitate only the gold? If I use magnesium strips, would I only get gold? Or should if I use sodium metabisulfite, will I only get Gold precipitate?
I don't know if I should just throw everything in aqua regia, evaporate the nitric acid and just put sodium metabisulfite in it? Would that work?
Hobby - Shoreline Washington USA
August 21, 2011
OK already know there isn't much gold in Electronic parts
BUT damn it expensive sunglasses and other types of jewelry are heavy gold plating and can easily be scraped off to get gold from!
People don't bother with this stuff once broken they leave it lie on the ground!
I have 50 pairs of designer sunglasses with gold plated frames about 60 lbs of other gold plated jewelry and belt buckles and from ladies purses and hand bags!
all collected in 3 months time along with my travels in scrap metal recycling!
The pc boards I take apart and take all copper out of it at $4 a lb cleaned sure is worth it the case weighs about 20 lbs with whatever steel is left inside thats .12 cents a lb so ten of those babies = 200 lbs and a fast $24 in my pocket of course I have tools to remove screws and clips and a wire stripping machine that paid for it self 1st time I used it strips any thickness of wire in seconds!
Cost was $400 I had 200 lbs of wire piled up after two days of traveling in my tri county area from old tvs, vacuum cleaners, lamps, etc... stripped clean in 2 hrs time after insulation was removed I had 180 lbs of copper cleaned !
180 times $3.75 a lb = $675 just for the copper 400 lbs of steel and iron X .12 cents $48 100 lbs of aluminum cans .60 a lb = $60 100 lbs of aluminum .55 a lb = $55
Total time in 3 days was 42 hrs hrs gas used was 3/4 of a tank $65 dollars! NO TAX on scrap iron metal recycyling
SO now my next step is scraping the gold off all this heavy plated jewelry and other stuff I have!
Gonna take long time maybe a month and I hope to get $500 - $1000 for the gold dust!
- Phila Pennsylvania
September 27, 2011
My Company cleans up the debris many of you guys leave behind except what's left of your body after you blow you and your family up. I am HAZMAT, OSHA, FEMA Certified and have one question to ask all of you guys (Excluding Lic. Metal Refinery Corps.)? WOULD YOU WALK INTO A ROOM OR HOUSE THAT HAS AN ACTIVE METH LAB IN OPERATION? Yes it sounds like it; I don't care what degree you have you don't know what the hell you're doing, fresh out of school ready to give advice; to me thats like a General Contractor's first job rebuilding the Towers. SEND IT TO A REFINERY.David Hoover
- Ringgold, Georgia
October 30, 2011
This is in answer to a question. I have been scrapping for years in Indianapolis, Indiana. There are a number of various metal on a coputer to scrap. Heat Sinks, All the electronics can be salvaged and sold to enthusiasts. The stripped boards themselves can be reused by hobbyists. Stripped out computer monitors can be stripped out as can DVD, floppy drives, etc. If it is an electronic item and you have access to Craigs List on the computer, you can sell any item. You can not just go to Radio Shack anymore and buy electronic parts. Most of the kids they hire do not know what a diode is, they would think it's a nose ring or something. Scrapping is very profitable if done right, even as a hobby.James Brummett
scrapper - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
November 3, 2011
anyone know the best guy to send my tungsten (W)/silver alloy contactors, for refining and/or sell? I only have 7 pounds. Is there a place in China where I could send them and get a better deal? I had a guy shoot them with his analyzer and he said they have between 16 and 40% silver. Several big companies here in Dallas said they didn't fool with tungsten alloys. I have looked on the internet but the best deal I can find is 50% for them and 50% for me ... any ideas out there ? I read above that selling on ebay is a good way. What would you guys recommend?Bill Hollon
electrician - Dallas, Texas, USA
Ed. note: this site is for technical discussions rather than commercial contact. Unfortunately we are instantly drowned under lengthy advertisements if we print commercial postings; worse, some vendors post with fictitious names, posing as satisfied customers :-(
All general advice for you is welcomed, but we can't print contact suggestions.
November 6, 2011
I've done research just like everyone on here. I collect computers when I can for free. Save them up, take them apart, scrap out tin, aluminum, and sometimes copper in town. If we search hard enough we will find our answers. If we choose to do it ourselves be aware its just not ourselves we put at risk. Things happens, like pets, air flow and people. I don't think too many people put too much thought into it. Sure we have our safety at hand but we forget about others. Do you have kids? If there's something you don't want them getting into, well . . . what normally happens? Anyway I found a web site that will pay you 82% of what it's worth and will even pay for shipping (from anywhere! all they ask is to have it separated and more then 25 pounds). If you search for it you'll find it.Kirk Nast
For fun - Spokane, Washington
December 26, 2011
I have seen the dangers first had of the chemicals used in the process .... THINK SAFETY FIRST ..... I just started recovery of gold/silver from electronics by reverse electro plate method... I have research this for about 15 years now looking for the least hazardous way ... It's not fast not expensive but still has it's dangers .... So read a book ... listen to the experts .... study the dangers ... know what you are getting into ... if you are looking to get rich ...... get a jobBill Evans
- Sylvania, Georgia
January 1, 2012
Jeez, gold from E-scrap should never be considered anything other than a hobby. You will honestly make more from the copper and aluminum. It takes on average 120-150 desktop comps to make an ounce of gold.
And on the subject of a stripping cell (I have made many by the way) all you need is concentrated sulfuric acid as the electrolyte and lead as the cathode while the piece being stripped is the anode. use a 12v auto battery charger with a manual setting. Very simple design is small pyrex loaf pan with a sheet of lead on one side as cathode (hook negative to this side) and the positive to the piece you're stripping. I use a copper mesh basket to hold loose pins and a jumper I made for individual pieces. Concentrated sulfuric will heat up due to its resistance and will attack copper when heated, so you have to stop and let it cool between runs. I use Liquid Fire drain opener =>
The gold releases from the piece due to ionic exchange and at the same time as sulfuric can not hold gold in suspension and lead is neutral, the gold self precipitates to the bottom of the cell as black powder. The solution will get blacker and thicker the longer it's used until the powder slimes reach the bottom of the cathode at which point it stops stripping and needs to be cleaned up.let the powder settles (this can take a day or more) and slowly decant the acid to another container (this can be used over and over again); be careful not to disturb the black powder and leave a small amount of acid with the powder. Place this in a separate container and replace the cathode and the electrolyte plus add enough to make up for what's with the powders and start the process over.
Clean the powder by slowly adding powder and acid mix to clean water. CAUTION: sulfuric acid does not mix well with water and will build heat quickly. Dilute with 10x water and let the powder settle and decant down to the powder. Repeat this until the water remains clear. What you have left in the powder will be about equal to 20K and will need to be refined.
Dissolve the gold powder using muriatic acid and chlorine bleach (yes,it will dissolve the gold) the solution will be green, precipitate the gold with sodium metabisulfite sold under the name Bonide stump remover =>
- decatur, Alabama usa
Liquid Fire drain opener
Bonide Stump Remover
January 1, 2012
Readers: I've seen muriatic acid mixed with bleach, and the toxic cloud of poisonous chlorine gas it produces. I personally think it's madness attempting this kind of stuff in a residential situation.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
January 3, 2012
I do apologize about the brevity of my earlier post, and I do agree whole hearted about safety issues. All appropriate safety precautions should be taken and any process I describe should be done in a fume hood and/or with the use of PPE's. I will describe the correct use of muriatic acid and sodium hypochlorite. This process is only recommended on gold foils and gold powders but not solids or karat gold. A good respirator and a good breeze outside in an unpopulated area or a fume hood is recommended. In a clean glass or porcelain container, place your foils or powders (up to 1 ounce) and add just enough muriatic acid to cover your material. Next, add sodium hypochlorite in very small increments (10 ml's) at a time and stir with a glass rod; visually inspect the contents after each addition to insure the material has all been dissolved. It should take only 2-3 additions. If the foils or powder is contaminant-free, the solution will be a golden yellow color (auric chloride). If the material is contaminated, the solution will be some shade of the color green. If it is, not to worry, just precipitate and refine again. You leave impurities behind every time you dissolve the material and precipitate. I will describe the washes and rinses involved to raise the purity of your gold to .999 next time.jeff massey
- decatur, Alabama usa
January 6, 2012
Home refining is only dangerous if done by individuals that decide gold is worth more than their health. The chemicals needed to refine gold can be obtained at most hardware stores and are no more dangerous refining gold than performing the job it was sold to do as long as the person knows what they are doing. Sodium and chlorine are two of the most deadly elements on earth but if you combine them you get table salt, something we all need to survive. Always use PPE's when dealing with acid. To depopulate whole boards just soak the boards in muriatic acid (HCl); it will dissolve the tin in the solder releasing the components (collect powders in the bottom of the container as this will be high content silver). For any board that has gold plated traces (including phone boards), PCI fingers, clean gold plated pins or any gold plated bits that may be trapped in plastic, AP or acid peroxide (HCl+H2O2) is the solution for this. HCl will not dissolve copper but copper chloride will. After the material is added and the acid is added H2O2 is added to jump start the production of copper chloride because of the oxidizer a small bit of copper is converted to copper oxide which in turn is dissolved by HCl and converted to copper chloride. To keep the reaction moving forward you may add a bubble stone made for a fish tank and an air pump for the same purpose. This will keep an excess of oxygen in solution and drive the reaction forward. This will speed up the process and remove the need to keep adding H2O2 periodically. This can be done in a 5 gallon bucket and as long as the material is free of tin and steel the solution can be re-used many times as long as oxygen is supplied. I didn't get around to describing the rinses and washes to raise the purity of your gold so I will be back.Jeff Massey
- Decatur, Alabama, USA
March 1, 2012
I am absolutely floored by the amount of folks posting on this thread that seem to think that folks have a secret, and that somehow they are entitled to it.
As a Master Craftsman I learned my various trades though, schooling, apprenticeships, internships, on the job training, hours and hours of research and practice.
I would bet the skill set for refining / metallurgy / would be acquired the same way. Only with much more schooling as the safety aspect and huge potential to hurt, maim, kill unsuspecting people is enormous.
The secret is Time, the knowledge is out there, if someone doesn't want to take the time to learn and are just looking for a magical formula, something tells me they are the same ones that are going to be creating a toxic waste dump, hurting themselves and other in the process.
And no it's not your right to do that, kill yourself sure, but impact other folks, land, or property no way.
I will give you a secret though, home labs like I have read about on here are worth Gold, lots of Gold to the folks that get paid to perform remediation on them in the hopes of keeping the property from being condemned.
"Google is not a substitute for Common Sense" -- me
- San Diego, California, USA
March 14, 2012
Is heating up the circuitry with a stronger current a means of pulling the gold out?
- Vancouver BC Canada
A. Last year I had a local gold buyer check out some gold jewelry left by my late mother. He said they were worth more as antique items than the gold they contained. Many were gold plated or gold tone w/o markings. I asked him about using chemicals and electrolysis to strip it off and he laughed. He showed me boxes of jewelry like that in his back room and said it'd take a pick-up bed full to recover an ounce by a competent certified recycler. He doesn't buy the stuff but collects it for faith-based charity to be recycled, giving the donors a receipt for tax purposes. He lets them conjure up the jewelry's value to fit their tax needs. Sounds like a more practical method to obtain some value from junk without spending money and time to try something dubious and dangerous.
I'm taking his advice to sell the interesting items separately and donate the rest, though out of curiosity plan to try the Radio Shack etching fluid and electrolysis method first on some. I already have all the needed components on hand so won't be out anything plus the two methods seem the safest to try. I may be in for a pleasant surprise or a total waste of time.
- Longview, Texas
July 4, 2012
Q. Hi out there,
I have about 650 lbs of pay phone circuit boards made by Intellicall. They are from the 90's & early 2000's. Each one is about 10.4 ounces. Would these circuit boards be considered hi grade having any precious metals etc? Thanks
- New York
July 20, 2012
Q. Has anyone used a non-toxic approach other than Borax to extract precious metals? I heard Sodium Thiosulfate as a chemical to do a solvent extraction (liquid-liquid) that is non-toxic and is a cost-effective process and can be purchased where photographic fixer or where pool supplies are sold. What is the reaction if any with e-waste; is the process two step and involves another chemical to get the gold from the solvent?Ra Releb
- Largo, FL
October 7, 2012
Q. We have several old computers to disassemble. In refing gold from old computers, is it necessary to have all the pins off of the plastic before using the acid step? If so how is that done? We have tried it with the plastic and it just goes into a blob.George Carter
- New Bloomfield, Missouri
January 7, 2013
I have hundreds of pounds of computer gold scrap. If I were to hire a company to refine some of it, what percentage is normal for them to take?
For example, I send 50 lbs of scrap and they refine 20 grams of pure gold out of it. How much would/should they keep as payment?
Thanks for your time reading and answering,
novice - St. Louis, Missouri
January 8, 2013
A. To all readers of this thread,
I'am a time served Engineer and Scientist. I currently work as the Technical and Quality Manager for a ISO/IEC 17025: 2005 laboratory.
Firstly, anyone who is looking for the proper methodology to extract the precious elements from electrical equipment, there are books for sale that specify the process. I am a strong believer in copyright laws and as a inventor, with several patents under my name, I respect the fact that you should not get access to someone else's hard work and research for free.
Not to forgo the fact that if you cannot afford a £50.00 book to learn the process, you cannot afford the equipment to carry out the process. Similarly if you cannot be bothered getting the appropriate books, you will not be bothered doing it properly, therefore should quit now at this point.
For the purposes of this post, I will be working in £'s (Great British Pounds/ Pounds Sterling) as it is what I am accustomed to and have used in calculations.
I used to extract gold, silver and platinum as a past time under my own auspices. It was simply for fun. I have now given up that hobby as parts are too hard to come across. A lot of people see this as a "get rich quick scheme". I could go into things in detail but I have calculated that to get £1.00 in gold you have to spend £4.00 on components, transportation, chemicals and consumables. The loss is compounded further by adding in the time taken to complete the task as well as the cost of equipment.
There is literally not economical method to produce precious elements from electronic components anymore as sellers are asking ridiculous prices due to the huge amount of hobbyists who have not carried out any research or proper yield calculations before embarking on their pointless endeavor.
I appreciate that "gold fever" is a hard thing to shake off, and many of you who read this will still be blinded by it. I cannot change your mind set but I would still implore you to research the chemicals and methods mentioned above very carefully and thoroughly due to the sheer danger involved.
For example some may opt to use Sulphur Dioxide to precipitate the Gold. To put this into real life risk, in my laboratory we use Sulphur Dioxide in our Neutral Salt Spray Test chambers.
The chambers that use SO2 are completely enclosed in separate "cell rooms" that are made from poly-Carbonate panels, held up by a stainless steel frame where the frame is resin coated.
The room is alarmed with SO2 monitors on the inside and outside of the room. If the SO2 level rises above the alarm threshold the room electronically locks (and is airtight) and a massive pump creates a vacuum in the room and the system is purged with Nitrogen. The only time an operator is allowed in the room is when the test is paused or stopped (which means the system is purged prior to entry) and when they are in the room they wear a fully enclosed HAZMAT suit with independent Oxygen supply.
Our safety system costs in the region of £20,000 per cell (which is only 8 ft by 4 ft).
When working with Aqua Regia or Hydrofluoric acid they are used in a large ducted fume cupboard with strong suction. The vapour from these chemicals are incredibly corrosive and prior to venting to the outside we have filters and scrubbers in place to protect the environment.
The acids will require careful neutralisation and the removal of heavy elements prior to disposal. You will need to know how to do this properly.
Whilst I cannot stop anyone from attempting this without the proper training I am willing to give FREE advice on the proper safety precautions prior to doing this. I would rather give up 30 minutes of my time to talk to you than you kill yourself by not appreciating what you are working with.
If you insist on doing this, please be careful. You likely have no idea the hazards that await you.
In close, if anyone in the United Kingdom (or even Europe) consider doing this, you are committing an illegal act under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive as well as UK Waste Management laws therefore are eligible for a custodial jail sentence up to 10 years and an unlimited fine unless you have been issued the proper license for waste management by a Local Authority/ Council (who will not grant you one unless you are competent, qualified and adequately funded/ equipped).
Technical Manager, ETAS (U.K.) - Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
April 21, 2013
Q. My mother used to work in electronics and she saved all the clipped wire ends off of diodes and (?) that were gold plated. Now I have about two big hand-fulls of these that are gold plated. Are they worth anything and where can I sell them? Thanks for any help you have!!
single mom - Grass Valley, California, USA
June 9, 2013
Q. I want to harvest precious metals from electronics, I am fully aware of the dangers to myself, others and the environment along with hazardous materials collections and disposal. I want to shred the circuit boards and use electroplating with cathodes to collect the various metals, my question I am sure requires multiple answers and it is: if I shred the circuit boards can I then soak the scrap in a solution and keeping it agitated (slow stirring) with a electrical charged cathode inserted into the solution to collect the metals, and can I take the material (scrap) and take it from one solution to another (of course with thorough rinsing in between) with different solutions and cathodes to retrieve different metals? And if so what are the recipes (solutions), cathode materials and electrical charge?Wendy Orndorff
- Derry, Pennsylvania, USA
June 13, 2013
A. Hi Wendy. I don't have the answers, only the issues which you should anticipate encountering as you proceed. You probably will not be able to electrolytically dissolve the metals from shredded boards because you won't be able to establish contact. That means you'll have to chemically dissolve the metals into aqua regia, and my feeling is you won't be able to electroplate out of aqua regia because electroplating is a reduction process, and nitric acid is a very powerful oxidizing agent; further I think it will evolve mountains of NOx. But best of luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
June 17, 2013
First of all, for everyone who isn't qualified to use these methods of refining I.e. aqua regia, you need to realize the dangers in it, mainly death. No one's life is worth any amount of gold. Professional refiners can refine your materials for you. Please realize that unless you buy acids by the drum or have a professional setup, 99% of your endeavors will be only a learning experience and a loss of money, so consider it an expensive and extremely dangerous learning experience.Shane Morn
precious metal refining - Milwaukee, wi usa