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More gold obtained from recycling than mining

Published Wednesday 1st February 2017

More gold can be obtained from recycling electronic waste than from mining, according to the man behind a planned huge new recycling centre in the Middle East.

The new centre for old electronic equipment will be opening in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which generates some of the highest levels of e-waste in the Middle East.

Nitin Gupta, chief executive of Attero Recycling India, which will set up the plant, told The National: "More gold can be derived from e-waste than mining ore.”

The gold, which will go back into the creation of new equipment, will be stripped from old devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets. Silver and copper are also among the lucrative metals to be found in the equipment which can be harvested for continued use.

India is the world’s second biggest gold importer after China and is leading the way in recycling. As well as obtaining the precious metal from old electronic equipment, there is a major drive to recycle old jewellery and temple gold, to reduce the cost of importing the metal into the country.

The Indian government's push for more recycling is paying dividends. According to the newly published annual GFMS report by Reuters, the amount of gold recycled worldwide in 2016 jumped by 10 per cent year on year, while the amount obtained from mining dipped by 1.5 per cent.

Of course, there are much easier ways of recycling gold than the painstaking work of removing and melting down gold wires from electronic equipment. Most homes have old, broken or unwanted gold jewellery which can be recycled for cash.

It’s worth checking through your jewellery box or searching through old drawers for pieces you no longer want, because the current good gold prices mean you can earn a decent return for something that has been lying idle.