Mining for Gold in Old Cell Phones

Wednesday, 9 May 2012 | 10:44 AM ET

A wireless conference might be the last place you'd expect to see a precious metals refinery company, but precious metals are prevalent in cellular devices and once stripped down, those metals can be cashed in.

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‘We look for gold, silver, palladium and copper in cell phones scraps… We return those metals back to the commodity markets," said Todd Willis, senior account executive at Reldan Metals, a precious metals refinery that is exhibiting at CTIA.

But in order for recycling cell phones to be profitable, there needs to be a lot of old cell phones.

“The key is you have to have enough volume in order for it to be economically feasible to go through the recovery process," Willis said.

But, it's not just cell phones that can be recycled for precious metals.

Other telecommunication devices can also be recycled for precious metals, Willis added. These include air cards, cell phone chargers, SIM cards, etc.

These old devices can't be found just anywhere in high volumes though, that's why Reldan Metals seeks out companies looking for an environmentally safe way to dispose of old products as clients.

“We look to partner with companies, large corporations, to help them with their sustainability initiatives for the future with recycling," Willis concluded.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that lithium ion batteries can be recycled for precious metals. The story also misspelled the name of the company, Reldan Metals.

email: tech@cnbc.com


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