What electronics contain the most gold? Recovery of noble metals from electronics

Gold remains one of the most expensive and desired noble metals in the world. Its worth keeps increasing! The metal is used for example in the production of electronic devices and appliances and can be recovered in the recycling process. How much gold is there in a computer or smartphone? How can you recover gold from electronics, and is it legal?

Published: 31-08-2022

What can you recover gold from?

It is no secret that electronics we use on a daily basis contain the precious metal. What electronics contain gold? You can find it in:

  • computers and laptops (it is possible to recover gold from motherboards, contacts, CPUs etc.),
  • smartphones and older generation phones,
  • VCRs,
  • sound systems and
  • semi-conductors.

As discarded electrical and electronic equipment is collected, noble metals in electronics are recycled and reused in many different ways. It is also possible to recover gold from gold-plated elements, from CPUs or even from a clothes iron!

Few people realize what devices contain gold and place them where they should not, e.g., in mixed waste containers, without thinking. This applies to appliances such as TV sets, a variety of film players, washing machines and small handheld devices, hair dryers and power tools.

Recovery of gold from electronics – how is it done?

How is gold recovered from electronics? How do you recover gold from electronics at home? The recycling process for this noble metal is not difficult, but it is highly time-consuming and dangerous. It is advisable to send waste electrical and electronic equipment to a specialised company that recovers gold from electronics step by step fast, professionally and in line with applicable laws.

Where is gold located in a computer? Recovery of gold from computer parts

The issue of the recovery of gold from computers has been very popular with both private individuals and owners of metal collection centres in recent years. In fact, computer parts contain the most gold. It is possible to recover gold from computer boards; it is also possible to extract gold from motherboards, integrated circuits, contacts, pins and printed circuit boards.

And how is gold recovered from a computer? To this end, an experienced lab technician, who knows how to extract gold from the CPU safely, first needs to dismantle metal elements and then carry out multi-step tedious separation and filtration of the metal.  The gold extraction process uses strong (hydrochloric, nitric) acids – thus it is not a good idea to recover gold at home. Caustic acids may cause burning and poisoning dangerous for one’s health, if used incompetently.

How much gold can one recover from a computer or laptop?

Is discarded electrical/electronic equipment worth anything at all? How many grams of gold are there in the computer or laptop? Well, it certainly depends on the specific model and the solutions used. CPUs have a high content of gold – it could be as much as 0.2 g to 0.5 g! Melting and processing of parts from several devices yield up to 1–2 g of gold.

Recover of gold from mobile phones

Where is gold located in a phone? How is it extracted and does it pay off? Note that the small mobile devices contain relatively low amounts of the noble metal. Parting of gold from electronics and mobile phones is cost-ineffective, unless the discarded material weighs more than one ton! Discarded electrical and electronic equipment is treated by specialised companies, that recover gold from mobiles legally and extensively.

How is gold extracted from the mobile phone?

People who have gathered some time-worn smartphones often search the Internet for information on recovering gold from mobiles and on the amount of gold in a phone. A single device contains thousandths of a milligram of gold – it is entirely unprofitable to process one or more phones. Gold may only be recovered from electronic parts after metals are carefully separated from plastic elements, which requires appropriate facilities and chemical expertise.

It is legal to recover gold in Poland? Recycling of gold from electronics in the light of law

If one looks for answers to the question: where can you sell gold from electronics? in a search engine, you will get many results concerning mints and e-waste collection centres. Before you decide to recover gold at home in order to sell the raw material, you should better learn the relevant laws. Can anyone extract gold from electronics?

In Poland, it is illegal to recover noble metals from electronics. The law provides for penalties for individuals who extract and recover gold from electronic equipment, computer parts, components, etc., on their own. Authorised companies carry out professional and legal chemical extraction of gold from computers; they act in line with the Waste Act and pursuant to the applicable geological and mining law.

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