With the ever-increasing use of electronic devices around the world such as computers, mobile phones and automation components, comes a proportionate increase in the amount of electronic waste. Very often, this electronic waste contains heavy metals such as lead, zinc, copper, lithium, tin, cadmium, beryllium and mercury, as well as precious metals like gold, silver and platinum that are critical to operate the devices. However, once the electronics are discarded, these heavy metals can pose a risk to people and the environment if they are not handled correctly.
What we can do
Because these electronic devices contain very small components it can be extremely difficult to separate these metals from the other components such as printed circuit boards. Sepro has worked closely with electronic waste recyclers to develop innovative processes to recover gold and other metals, to produce metal concentrates which can be sold directly to refiners at a profit and to generate an environmentally clean waste stream that is free of toxic chemicals.
Urban Metals Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)
The high-value of precious metals in PCBs is constituting a valuable resource, and at the same time, a challenge from a process view. This new approach reaches unmatched liberation of precious metals and copper from the complex circuit boards to allow for optimum recoveries. Toxins contained in PCBs are safely removed and won’t negatively affect the sale value of the metal concentrates.
Crushed PCBs are fed to a thermal treatment system where they become friable and toxins are removed safely. Thereafter, the PCBs are mechanically disintegrated in a mill and coarse copper is removed from the mill discharge as a clean product. The remaining fine slurry is then processed by Sepro’s low-G and high-G gravity concentration stages to recover fine copper and precious metals. The gravity concentration rejects are dewatered and disposed of as non-hazardous residue.
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