Main content area

Assessment of gold and silver in assorted mobile phone printed circuit boards (PCBs): Original article

Vats, M.C., Singh, S.K.
Waste management 2015 v.45 pp. 280-288
atomic absorption spectrometry, batteries, glass, gold, landfills, manufacturing, plastics, recycling, roasting, silver, wastes, wet digestion method
Demand for gold and silver has been escalating with increasing usage of electronic equipment globally. Around 267.3MT of gold and 7275MT of silver are being consumed annually for manufacturing mobile phones, laptops and other electronic equipment. However, only 15% is recuperated from these equipment; the remainder lies in the storage yards or landfills. The waste comprise glass, plastics, wires, batteries, PCBs, metal casing, etc. The PCB is composed of precious metals, which creates immense purpose for recycling and recovery. This paper characterises and assesses the recoverable metallic fraction of gold and silver from PCBs of mobile phones. The methodology is based on dismantling of the mobile handset and subjecting the PCBs to roasting and acid digestion. The digested samples were analysed by atomic absorption spectroscopy and the content of gold and silver in the PCBs was to be found in the range of 0.009–0.017% and 0.25–0.79% by weight respectively.