Gold Recycling – Process, Advantages and Sources

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Gold is a very scarce and valuable metal that is recycled and used over and over again. Approximately 20 tons of gold ore is required to get around 10 gram of pure 24 carat gold. Gold is highly valued because it is lustrous, rare, easy to melt and is an excellent conductor of electricity. As it is a very precious metal, recycling gold is cost-effective alternative to retain it for lifetime.

Environment is being adversely affected by gold mining as toxic substances like cyanide and mercury are used extensively for the mining process. These substances pollute both water and air and also happen to be one of the main causes for mercury pollution.

gold recycling process, advantages and sources

Advantages of Recycling:

The best options to save the environment are by using mining methods that are more eco-friendly and recycling the gold that is already obtained.

  • The main advantage of recycling gold is that it does not result in degradation of the quality. Gold that was mined hundreds of years is just as pure as the one mined yesterday.
  • The gold is mined by using open pits methods where huge holes are excavated on the surface of the earth and this adversely affects the environment making the surrounding soil loose and prone to erosion. Instead if gold is recycled, this environmental threat can be checked.

Different Sources

Gold is a metal that is used for creating coins and beautiful jewelleries, dental fillings and even used in industrial applications.

  • Jewelleries and coins can be easily recycled through mail-in-programs and brick and mortar dealers who pay for the unwanted gold.
  • Electronic wastes are a big source of gold that can be recycled. Dumping television sets, mobile phone and other electronic gadgets is equivalent to throwing away gold. The gold present in these devices can be easily recycled and can be used to make other new devices.
  • Gold obtained from filing and other dental procedures are usually collected by dentists and are sent for recycling.
  • Substantial amount of gold is also obtained from circuit boards and catalytic converters which are recycled by commercial collectors or municipalities.

Recycling Processes

Electronics

Recycling the gold obtained from electronic and industrial waste is complex as the gold is embedded in a plastic or metal housing.  Several options of processing exist after the piece containing the metal is stripped off. The first option that is widely practiced is chemical stripping that is done with the help of a compound that reacts with gold.  Another option involves melting down the metal components and then cooling and grinding them up.

Jewellery

Measuring the carats and sorting out the purity of gold jewelleries is the preliminary step for recycling. The quantity of the impurities can be assayed with the help of an acid kit or X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. After the gold is sorted then it is melted in a crucible at around 1064 Celsius and poured into bars that are marked by purity. Some are further smelted to remove the impurities by burning it off.

Recycling valuable and limited resource of gold can be every advantageous. This process saves a lot of money and is the best option that does not harms the environment.

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