Most Computers & electronic devices contain circuit boards inside that will contain many types of precious metals.
Precious metals are widely applied in many industry fields due to their excellent corrosion resistance, good electrical conductivity and high catalytic activity. However, the reserves of precious metals falls short of the production globally. The rapid generation of end-of-life products has become the significant resources of precious metals.
Among these products, electronic waste (e-waste) and spent catalysts are more concentrated since they account for over 90% of precious metals in industry.
Chemical extraction of Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium can be extracted from electronic components and the removal and disposal of hazardous materials including Mercury, Cadmium, Beryllium Oxide and Batteries (NiCd, Lithium etc.) is also undertaken.
Elements found in trace amounts include Americium, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Bismuth, Boron, Cobalt, Europium, Gallium, Germanium, Gold, Indium, Lithium, Manganese, Nickel, Niobium, Palladium, Platinum, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Selenium, Silver, Tantalum, Terbium, Thorium, Titanium, Vanadium, and Yttrium.
Almost all electronics contain Lead and Tin (as solder) and Copper (as wire and printed circuit board tracks), though the use of lead-free solder is now spreading rapidly.
Computer components containing valuable metals include Motherboards, connector cards, graphic cards, memory cards, CPU’s and other various small electronic components, connectors/cables & Hard drives.
Computer CPU’s (processors) have the most precious metal value by weight, followed by Memory (RAM) & Circuit Board Fingers / Connectors / Pins, then Circuit Boards (Motherboards), then cables / wires, with hard drives & whole computers being last.
CD/DVD drives, monitors, cases, keyboards/mouse, printers, scanners & power supplies typically do not contain enough precious metal to be considered of value.
Valuable & Precious Metals – where they are in computers?
- Gold – Printed Circuit Boards, Computer Chips (CPU), connectors / fingers
- Silver – Printed Circuit Boards, Computer Chips, keyboard membranes, some capacitors
- Platinum – Hard Drives, Circuit board components
- Palladium – Hard Drives, Circuit board components (capacitors)
- Copper – CPU heat sinks, wiring and cables, Printed Circuit Boards, Computer Chips
- Nickel – Circuit board components
- Tantalum – Circuit board components (some capacitors)
- Cobalt – Hard Drives
- Aluminum – Printed Circuit Boards, Computer Chips, Hard Drives, CPU heat sinks
- Tin – Printed Circuit Boards, Computer Chips
- Zinc – Printed Circuit Boards
- Neodymium – Hard Drives (magnets)
Precious Metals Recycled