Where Can You Find Scrap Platinum in Old Computers?

Where Can You Find Scrap Platinum in Old Computers?

We have written on this blog before about retrieving gold scrap from old computers. It is actually pretty easy to do, since you can see the gold, which is mostly found on the little pins that are on the edges of motherboards, printed circuit boards, memory chips - in the little pins that are used to plug those devices into surrounding contact blocks.

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Eliminate the Middleman and Make More Money Scrapping Old Computers

Eliminate the Middleman and Make More Money Scrapping Old Computers

Over the last four or five years, tens of thousands of older desktop computers have been scrapped. Although a lot of that recycling has already happened, it is still possible to find quantities of older desktops that you can buy at extremely low, junk prices. And if you can buy up a quantity of them and extract the gold they contain, you stand to make a very good profit.

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Profiteering Alert: Is Jewelry Scrap the Most Common Source of Karat Gold?

Profiteering Alert: Is Jewelry Scrap the Most Common Source of Karat Gold?

We’re going to crawl out on a limb today and state our opinion that karat gold jewelry scrap is probably the biggest and best source of recyclable gold. Why do we think that? Because you don’t have to go panning in the Yukon to find jewelry scrap or (in most cases) hike around fields with a metal detector. Karat jewelry gold scrap is a lot easier to find than that, as the following stories illustrate. 

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Why It Will Always Pay to Recycle Gold

We live in a world where the latest and most high-tech materials are always in the news. When Ferrari recently showcased a new supercar made almost entirely of carbon fiber, the world became enthralled with that material. When people learned that the surfaces of space shuttles are covered with advanced silica ceramic tiles, everyone suddenly started to think about advanced ceramics. Today Ferrari, Porsche and other car makers are offering very expensive ceramic brake rotors on their vehicles.

While modern materials have remarkable qualities, the fact remains that gold – that’s right, good old gold, an element with the symbol AU and an atomic number of 79 – still stands apart for some very remarkable properties that are unequalled by most other materials . . .

Why is the demand for recycled gold high? All the gold that’s ever been mined in the history of the world would only make up a cube about 60 feet on each side. Image courtesy of waitbutwhy.com

Why is the demand for recycled gold high? All the gold that’s ever been mined in the history of the world would only make up a cube about 60 feet on each side. Image courtesy of waitbutwhy.com

Gold Is Beautiful

Beauty is gold’s most obvious property, so let’s mention it first. Carbon fiber and ceramics are pretty unattractive in comparison.

Gold Resists Corrosion and Oxidation

Items of gold jewelry that were made thousands of years ago still look just like they did when they were made. Only cyanide, nitro-hydrochloric acid and a few other chemicals have any effect on gold. That’s another reason why gold remains the metal of choice for jewelry.

Gold Is Malleable and Soft

While that might seem to be a disadvantage, in gold it is a plus. Since ancient times, jewelers have fashioned ornaments of all kinds from gold because it is so easy to work with. And after a piece of jewelry has been made of gold, that softness can be another virtue. It is one reason rings made of gold are easy to resize.

Gold Is an Excellent Conductor of Electricity

Here’s another one of gold’s remarkable properties. It explains why gold is found in many places where electrical components must be joined together. Two examples? The contact tips that are used on high-end audio equipment cables and the pins that are found underneath computer CPU chips.

Gold Is Scarce

Given the fact that we can see gold in so many places, it is hard to believe that it is a rare precious metal. Estimates vary, but according to GFMS, an organization that monitors gold mining, only about 174,000 tons of gold have been mined in all of human history. If all that gold were mashed together, the result would be a cube that would be only about 60 feet on a side. (It might fit in your back yard.) Geologists believe that the earth contains vast quantities of unmined gold, but that it will never be extracted because it lies miles underground.

A Lot of the World’s Gold Is Tied Up in Investments

According to some estimates, 40% of the world’s gold is unavailable because it is being held by investors. It is not available for manufacturing. That makes gold on the free market even scarcer – and more valuable.

Demand for Recycled Gold Is High

According to an organization that monitors gold, goldfacts.org, one-third of all the gold that is sold every year comes from recycled items. That means that there is very real demand – and that very real dollars are waiting – for the gold that you recycle using the services of a highly qualified gold refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners.

Gold Can Be Hiding in Plain Sight

For such a scarce metal, it is pretty easy to find quantities of gold – provided you are on the lookout for it at estate sales, in items you have inherited, in antique stores, in dental scrap, and even in river beds.

If You Have Gold, Call Us Today at 800-426-2344

In today’s post, we’ve outlined some of the reasons why gold is beautiful, useful, and scarce. Demand for this most beautiful of all metals is never going to go away. Why not contact us today to learn more?

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How Are Precious Metals Recovered from Electronic Scrap?

If you have old cellphones, computers, or other electronic devices, you probably have some questions about how you can make the most money by recycling them. Here is a basic rule of thumb to keep in mind . . .

If the process that is used to extract the precious metals in those devices is too costly, the devices might not be worth recycling at all

Shown: electronic scrap gold plated pins sent to Specialty Metals by our customers for recycling and refining.

Shown: electronic scrap gold plated pins sent to Specialty Metals by our customers for recycling and refining.

It Makes Sense . . .

If you spend time with a pair of snippers removing the gold connecting pins from old computer CPUs and forward those pins to a top precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, you will get a high dollar return for every ounce of those pins that you send in. It makes sense, because comparatively little processing is required to separate the gold that those pins contain from other metals and contaminating materials. In contrast, if you contact us and ask about several hundred intact cellphones that you would like to recycle, you might learn that the cost of processing those phones is higher than the value of the precious metals that they contain. After all, one cellphone usually contains only a few cents’ worth of gold.

For a bit of perspective, here is a brief rundown on the different processes that are typically used by precious metal refiners to extract gold, silver, platinum and palladium from electronic scrap, or E-Scrap, as it is called in the recycling business.

Whole Device Refurbishing or Remanufacturing

This is a recycling option that can only be used for current-model smart phones and other devices that can still have use if they are refurbished by the manufacturer or another company.

Extracted-Component Recycling

The case study we cited above – the recycling of gold pins that have physically been removed from electronic devices – is a good example. If you do the physical work of removing components that contain valuable quantities of precious metals, you will get a higher dollar return for every ounce of material that you send in to be recycled.

Shredding, Granulating, Heat Processing and Other Industrial Recycling

These processes are done by large industrial recycling companies that grind up circuit boards and components and use a variety of processes to separate and extract the materials that they contain. Shredded printed circuit boards, for example, can have their ferrous materials removed by magnets, then that residue can be sifted and searched for precious metals, then that residue can be melted so that plastics can be recycled and used in other products.

Which Process Will Yield the Most Value?

As you have already observed, the “purer” recycling options (like extracted component recycling) are likely to put more dollars in your pocket than are the “dirtier” options (like shredding and granulating).

Not sure which is the best way to get the most value from your E-Scrap? Give us a call at 800-426-2344 and we’ll be pleased to explain what your best options are.

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Four Kinds of Easy-to-Overlook Electronic Devices that Contain Gold

Why Recycling Precious Metals Should Be Done by Professionals

Hobbyists seem to love to recycle precious metals. Perhaps they believe that they can earn a lot of money in their spare time.

Image of Specialty Metals refiner wearing protective gear urging consumers to leave precious metals recycling to the professionals.

We wonder why that is. As far as we know, most hobbyists don’t build nuclear reactors, oil refineries, or particle accelerators in their basements. What is it about refining precious metals that attracts them? It must be the word “precious.” They seem to believe that they can not only have fun, but also generate a lucrative second income by tinkering with platinum, silver or gold refining.

In that tinkering, many of them are exposing themselves, their families and even their neighbors to considerable risk. Only a very few forms of extracting and reclaiming precious metals are safe for hobbyists. The majority of extraction methods pose the risk of getting a chemical or thermal burn, being exposed to poisonous gases, causing a fire or explosion, or releasing harmful pollutants into the soil, water or air.

Why are these hobbyists taking such risks?

Frightening Videos on YouTube

If you want to get an idea of the dangerous work that hobbyists are doing, simply go to YouTube and search for videos about precious metals. While some videos show hobbyists engaged in safe pastimes like pulling the gold pins from printed circuit boards, a lot of them show hobbyists doing extremely dangerous things to reclaim precious metals.

It’s scary. You’ll see a hobbyist heating microcircuit boards with a propane torch, which releases dangerous gases. You’ll see another hobbyist plunging printed circuit boards into a tub of acid that seems to be sitting in a corner of his basement. Another hobbyist seems to have constructed a tank, filled with pieces of metal screening that are connected to a car battery, where he extracts silver from recycled fluids of some kind. There are also several videos that show an edgy-looking young woman who seems to be torturing old computers to death by tearing them apart and attacking their components with pliers and soldering torches.

It’s all very dangerous, which is why refining precious metals is a job that is best left to professionals. If you want to avoid serious illness or injury, that is. And of course, you want to do that. So the message is, don’t mess with dangerous recycling technologies at home.

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