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topic 5048p3

How to Extract Gold from Computer Circuit Boards?

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A discussion started in 2000 but continuing through 2019

May 21, 2012

Q. Hello from across the pond.
We carry out estate clearances and look to eco friendly disposal of property wherever possible. We are aware of there being a possible value in electrical items including computers, etc. and always look to get the best return for clients. We have the capacity to store or even break down items to sell on the component parts separately in order to realise more cash for our clients (we obviously get a higher return in fees as well so it is a win win situation). We are covered with the usual scrap metals, copper, brass, aluminium and ferrous metals but need more guidance on electrical items. Do you have any suggestions? We would not be looking to recover the actual gold, silver or other precious metals ourselves but need to be aware of what is contained in say a circuit board and where and how to sell it on.
We look forward to your answer.

Nick Lakin
probate - Midlands UK

July 27, 2012

A. I have recycled 4 complete pc's /2 routers / 3 dvd drives and a telephone, These cost me £30, I have refined half a troy ounce of pure 24 carrot which is worth around £500, Not bad for 15 hours work, £470 profit for 15 hours work. Use a heat gun / paint stripper pointed on the back of the circuit board, use a paint scraper / pliers to scrape all components of the other side of the board. Remove all plastic gubbins prior to heating it with the heat gun otherwise it can get messy. Grade all parts of circuit components into separate containers, i.e., Pot 1 gold plated items, Pot 2 Gold fingers (cut from pcb's), Pot 3 Monolithic Ceramic Capacitors for palladium (tiny rectangle components), Pot 4 Chips for gold and palladium, Pot 5 all other components to re use at home. Pot 1 (gold plated pins) need to reverse electroplate to extract gold before refining with aqua-regia. Pot 2 (gold fingers cut from pcb's) refine with aqua-regia. Pot 3 Monolithic Ceramic Capacitors, collect until you have at least 1 kg, then sell to refinery, you will be nicely surprised on how much you'll get for these little beauties. Pot 4 (chips) crush them up into small pieces, the smaller the better, then refine with aqua-regia to extract the gold, the chips do contain palladium as well, you can either refine it yourself or sell the sludge to a refinery. Pot 4 (Components) these are to keep for re-use or you can sell some of the components online as a lot of these components are rare and can fetch a good price.

Aqua-Regia Can be used safely at home under safe controlled conditions. I pledge before anyone uses aqua-regia to take the appropriate safety measures, i.e., lots of research, gloves, apron, googles, fume mask, bicarbonate soda to neutralise acids, fume hood / extraction hood, (my hood is home made, common sense. Always make sure that someone is around when refining with aqua-regia as the fume if inhaled can knock you unconscious within seconds. Always make sure you have acid trauma kits on premises.


Happy Urban Gold Mining

Luke Sky
- hampshire, romsey, England

October 19, 2013

A. I will keep this short sweet and to the point for all of the people that are asking how to recover gold from any kind of computer and how much gold is in these computers and what is the gold worth! There are very many different ways to extract the gold! I won't go into detail on how to extract the gold since there are many different ways of doing it; I will let people know that I have scrapped out over 8,000 laptops! After extracting the gold from the laptop an older laptop from 1990 and prior you will extract 1 to 3 grams ... that is the simplest way to explain to people that have never done it! A high end laptop 1990 and prior and a low end laptop 1990 and prior will bring you like I said 1 to 3 grams of gold ... one last thing ... if you can pick up old laptops and tear them apart yourself you will make a lot more money! So to do the math on that if you were to get one gram of gold per laptop you and I need 28 laptops to make an ounce and if you were to get 3 grams of gold per laptop you would need around 9 laptops to get your ounce of gold! -- so a lot of the other answers on here as far as it not being profitable is incorrect.

Brentyn Zernechel
- Mankato, Minnesota, USA

October 13, 2014

Q. I was wondering if there was a way to extract the gold at home without going on the innerweb and buying supplies or going to another state to just find or buy ONE little thing and come back, you try it, and it does not work.

I am getting extremely mad that I have to go place to place trying and buy things that DO NOT WORK, and I'm done buying things. I have hundreds of circuit boards I just want to know what to do AT HOME to extract the gold.

Please, I'm trying to come up with a plan, I NEED HELP!

Charles Martin
- Chesapeake, Virginia, United States

February 13, 2015

A. I have been reclaiming gold with some silver, palladium and platinum from circuit boards for about 5 years now. I make a fairly comfortable income from doing it. I am prepared to give simple to read and follow instructions on how I do it provided you don't raid my suppliers of boards. The quantity of boards, etc., available to you will be your limiting factor.

I have never used mercury or cyanide and those that claim it as a means to recover gold know not of what they claim to know about.

If you are not prepared to put in the money to buy what you need to recover the precious metals or put in the time to process it then don't waste my time. You won't reclaim any gold without some cost and effort, this is the real world.

Anything you will need is available in most places or on the internet. My initial investment was about $1000 Australian but my production has increased from one furnace to three so it is all relative. The degree that you reclaim to, and so it's cash value, will depend on you, but you can readily sell low purity gold as easily as 24 carat gold.

I don't know the ins & outs of this site but it seems you can email me with a link in it so if you really want to try it out then I am prepared to explain how to go about it. Rocket science it is not but care must be taken doing it so don't blame me if you don't take precautions that I explain.

Peter C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Coolum Beach Qld Australia

March 2015

thumbs up signHi Peter. Thanks; good info! If there are additional things that you or other people are willing to freely and publicly share here, you are invited to please do so.

The "ins & outs of the site" are that we don't put people into personal contact for a bunch of reasons, including the fact that everyone who has stopped in here for cocktails is welcome to stay for dinner :-)
We don't disenfranchise the readers who have made it this far by letting the discussion go private and cutting them off from it. Thanks again.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

April 4, 2015

Q. I haven't seen anyone mention the mustard colored components. Don't they contain something more precious than Gold?

Katherine Cosgrove
- Oroville California USA

April 2015

A. Hi Katherine. I think the "mustard color" probably is tarnished gold plating. I'm not aware of anything more precious than gold being used, except perhaps a tiny amount of platinum, and that is silvery colored.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

September 23, 2015

! Hi, everyone. To extract your gold from motherboards is easy. Just go on youtube, type in how to extract gold from computer motherboards -- they have step by step videos of the whole process and what you need to do this. Good luck guys.

craig pointon
- brisbane austrailia

January 3, 2016

I'm hooked if only for your responses Ted. Just classic!

P.S. As a retired Computer Engineer, I literally have about 20 Computers from I386 to present... Strictly Intel products. If I were to take the Gold from them and...

Sorry couldn't resist.
People....Study something and GET A JOB. Stop screwing up the environment. It's bad enough most of you have no regard for it with all the trash , tires and washing machines in your front yards.

Tim Glueckert
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer - Simi Valley, California, USA

January 2016

thumbs up signThanks very much for the kind words, Tim.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

Old circuit boards are silvery where I'd expect gold

February 16, 2016

Q. I have a number of older RAM cards that seem to possess no gold whatsoever, some of these are antique 1mb Intel cards. What is the silver-colored metal used in place of gold on these? Should I just assume it's all silver? The only thing I really know is there is absolutely no tarnish or corrosion on them, even with years of improper storage in a high-humidity environment that has blackened sterling silver jewelry with the same exposure.

Andrew Williams
- Columbus, Indiana, USA

February 2016

A. Hi Tim. They're probably tin plated. Tin used to sometimes be used on card edge connectors; but as electronics became smaller, lower voltage & current, and more complex, it didn't offer the required reliability. I suppose they could be platinum or palladium or rhodium plated although I personally am not familiar with such a thing.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

February 17, 2016

A. Like Ted said, it is tin. For a year or two in the early 70's, Xerox used rhodium on their fingers but, since then, all the white fingers I've seen are tin. Silver isn't used because it has a tendency to migrate between the fingers and causes partial shorts

Chris Owen
- Nevada, Missouri, USA

April 26, 2016

Hello all experts
I want to extract gold from computer scrap. I just want to know which brand and from which era of computers I can use scrap to extract gold, as here I can manage to get lots of scrap. Your good answers will be good for me

Waqas Ahmed
- Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

June 14, 2016

Q. I own a analytical laboratory in Milwaukee with a full chemistry lab. I was going to pay a company which I won't name to recover the gold and silver but they charged a lot so I figured I'd do it myself. I was wondering if I need to strip the circuit boards before I put them in a acid/peroxide solution or if I can leave all the little pieces on the boards?

David Meskur
- Milwaukee Wisconsin

June 17, 2016

Q. I have about 30 old keyboards, and they have what looks like an acetate circuit board. Is gold, or silver recoverable from these

James O. Morris
- Crossville, Tennessee, USA

June 21, 2016

A. From the forum where I am proud to be a moderator,, I find 2 different silver values for keyboard mylars. The first is $.20 per keyboard mylar and the second is 1.7%, or about $4 per pound of mylars at a $17.25 silver spot.

Concerning gold plating on electronics. On a part which can wear, through usage, such as gold-plated pins or circuit board fingers, the value would be about $0.38 per square inch of gold plated area, at a $1269 spot price for gold. This is about the thickest gold plating you'll normally find. For non-wear parts, such as the large gold plated plane area on a cell phone circuit board, the value is about %0.05 per square inch of gold plated area.

The bottom line is that the precious metals values on electronic scrap are quite low and you must process it in large quantities to show a profit. To do this chemically is normally not profitable unless you cherry-pick certain components from the boards and sell the boards that remain.

All of this has a long learning curve and it's very easy to get burned when you don't know exactly what you're doing.

I would estimate that about 95% of all the valid information found on the internet concerning precious metals scrap is on the forum listed above. It's been around for 9 years and has about 35,000 members. Several of us have done this professionally all of our lives - in my case, 50 years. Beware of other information sources, such as youtube videos. Many are quite dangerous and many are incomplete or just plain wrong.

Chris Owen
- Nevada, Missouri, USA

August 21, 2016

Q. I have recently come across a lot of computer boards they are completely bare and don't look like they have never been used there are no pens no solenoids nothing just the board do they still contain gold or any other valuable metals

scott murray
- Elkin North Carolina

August 2016

A. Hi Scott. Gold is always gold colored and very few other things are. If you see no gold color on those boards, there is no gold. If you see gold color on the board (most likely on the edge connectors) it almost surely is gold. But the thickness of the gold plating is a very important factor in whether it is practical to try to recover the gold. Depending on the vintage of the boards, the thickness could probably be anything from 10 microns to 200 microns. That is, there might be twenty times as much gold on some edge connectors as on others.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

August 21, 2016

A. As a casual refiner, you will never make a nickel from refining circuit boards.

Chris Owen
- Nevada, Missouri, USA

September 17, 2016

SITUATION: I have 100 lbs of old main frame computer connections and communication plugs.

QUESTION: What is the best way of selling these -- or is it feasible to recover the gold out of them?

mickel scamp
- bemidji New Jersey U.S.A.

October 27, 2017

Q. My step-dad burned several hundred pounds of boards from an old circuit board factory and has a product from it. He worked on this 2 years -- how can he sell what he has so far?

Bubba bernard
- No. Springfield, Missouri

June 4, 2019

Q. I have been working very hard to get all the circuit boards and e-scrap I can together. I couldn't get all the stuff I need to start refining my gold. I'm very interested and really want to do this. I've watched so many videos and tutorials. I'm stuck right now though. I have some circuit board pieces in the HCl and peroxide. So it will release the foils. And I look back at the video to just reassure myself that I'm ready and I can do this. But I've come to a screeching halt. I don't have the nitric acid. So I decide to use bleach with the HCl to bring my gold to a liquid solution, but here is the problem. I'm stuck. I have urea and baking powder, but now unsure what to do to pull the gold out of the solution. I thought I had everything I needed and it has taking me a good while to get all the things I have. And I can't afford to buy anything else right now. Please someone help me and tell me if I can use the baking powder to pull the gold out or the urea and if so, please tell me how. Thank you so much.

Jo Ann Edwards
Copper Art by JAS - Newton Grove

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