Science for Sustainability Hub

A new method for recycling metals

A team from Chemistry have created a new technology to recycle gold from electronic waste

Gold recycled from electronic waste
Gold recycled from electronic waste.

A recyclable and tuneable chemical reagent that separates valuable metals such as gold by direct and selective precipitation from mixed-metal solutions of relevance to extraction and e-waste recycling industries has been developed by the team of PhD student Luke Kinsman, Profs Carole Morrison and Jason Love from the School of Chemistry, and Prof. Bryne Ngwenya from the School of Geosciences.

We have exploited fundamental chemical recognition principles to design a new, tuneable, recyclable, and highly selective process of separating metals that could be integrated into current metal extraction and recycling industries

Professor Jason Love

This precipitation process overcomes hazards associated with the use of organic solvents in precious-metal separations, and the singular precipitation of gold is achieved directly from solutions derived from electronic waste, the recycling of which is an increasing global challenge.

This method is subject to a patent application and could be incorporated into a variety of metal extraction and recycling processes due to its selectivity, recyclability, and relevance to various metal dissolution processes.

You can access their paper here.