Did you know that we recycle only 12.5% of electronic waste around the world? And, in every million recycled laptops, cellphones, or computers, we recover about 30 pounds of palladium, 75 pounds of gold, 770 pounds of silver, and 35,000 copper.
So, it begs the question: how much gold is in a computer, laptop, or cellphone?
A computer contains about 0.2 grams of gold, valued at about $12. Each laptop has 0.006 grams of gold, and you’d need 7,500 such devices to get a kilo of gold. Then, a cellphone contains about 0.034 grams of gold, worth about $1.83.
In this post, we’ll dive into the amount of gold in your electronic device and what role it plays there. Also, find out how you can mine gold from a bunch of electronic wastes!
How Much of Gold is in Your Electronic Smart Device?
When most people think of electricity conduction, they think of copper, probably because it is the most common electrical conductor. However, silver is the best conductor, followed by gold.
Despite copper being a lesser expensive option compared to silver and gold, it transports electrons slowly.
But since speed is more important than the cost in the communications and computing world, gold is considered a better alternative to copper.
The practice of using gold as conductors in electronics instead of copper is slowly but surely taking over.
The primary reason being, gold is a better conductor of electricity, malleable, and highly corrosion-resistant.
Gold is incorporated in electronic devices like computers, laptops, and smartphones as electroplating chemicals, sputter targets, and gold bonding wire.
Only a handful of electronic device users know that the interior of their devices is thinly laced with gold.
But then, how much gold is incorporated into electronic devices? Approximately 400 tonnes of gold out of 40,000 metric tonnes of gold goes into electronic manufacture.
How Much Gold is in a Computer, Laptop, Cellphone
|Electronic Device||Amount of Gold Present in grams||Value of Gold In Device|
|Desktop Computer||0.2 grams||$12|
Quantity of Gold in a Computer
Computers have gold incorporated on components like the processors and circuit boards.
Circuit boards contain the majority of the gold in any computer.
You only need to collect the motherboards and a few other parts like the microchips and central processors to gather and recycle gold from old computers.
However, different computer models have different amounts of gold in them.
Computer models like Dell and Apple have more gold-laced on their parts and components, and that is why their manufacturers always want to recycle them for their users.
Diving deeper, computers use gold differently in their construction compared to other electronic devices like phones.
As a more complex device, your personal computer requires fast and accurate data transmission from one component to the next.
This necessitates the use of an efficient and dependable conductor that will lengthen the service period of the computer.
What to use then in a bid to achieve all these demands? Gold!
Despite the price of gold being on the higher side, it is worth the quality and performance of computers that use gold metal connections.
Edge connectors, which mount microprocessors and memory chips to the motherboard, contain gold.
Furthermore, all plug-and-socket connectors that connect cables contain gold.
Our modern technology would be nowhere near fast, efficient, and long-lasting if these precious yellow metals were not incorporated in computers by manufacturers.
How much gold is in a Computer? Approximately 1/5 of a gram of gold is inside any computer, worth about twelve dollars.
Quantity Gold in a smartphone
The amount of gold in a smartphone depends entirely on its size and model. Ordinarily, any smartphone has 1/30 of a gram of gold, worth about two dollars.
A common claim is, you can extract gold of a higher percentage from a smartphone than you can from a mined ore.
Quantity of Gold in a laptop
Different laptops have different amounts of gold-laced on them. Approximately any laptop has about 1/10 of a gram of gold in them—worth six dollars.
Why Electronics Contain Gold
Among the key reasons electronics contain gold include:
High electrical conductivity properties – Gold’s high electrical conductivity property allows electricity to flow through it with little resistance.
This is unlike the other electrically conductive metals like copper and aluminum. Thus, this property makes it the best metal for use in constructing electronic devices.
High corrosion resistant properties: Another unique property of gold is its high corrosion resistant properties which do not attract sulphuric hue like silver.
This property is well supported by the fact that gold does not mix well with oxygen.
Its inability to rust can make gold parts in electronics go for long periods without lubrication or maintenance.
Malleability: Gold’s malleability property allows manufacturers to roll and shape it into thin sheets. This property makes its incorporation into small gadgets like smartphones possible.
Durability: Another unique property of gold is durability. This property makes it suitable to use gold in manufacturing space vehicles since it can withstand infrared radiation.
Parts of the Phone and Computer That Contain Gold
Many types of precious metals are incorporated everywhere in most electronic devices. Gold not being an exception.
Among the places to find gold in your computer include:
Central Processing Units (CPUs): The CPUs have hundreds of gold-plated pins around the edges and underside. If you have a boatload of gold-plated pins extracted from the CPUs, it could be worth a lot of money.
Random Access Memory RAM: Gold deposits on the RAM serve the purpose of increasing your computer’s working memory.
A RAM has a considerable amount of gold pins and a thin layer of gold-laced on its surface.
Motherboards: A typical harbor of most gold in computers is the motherboard. Just like the CPUs, the components of the motherboard have gold incorporated on its edges.
You can also find thin layers of gold laced on the surface of the motherboard.
On your smartphone, you’ll find gold deposits on soldered joints, connecting wires, connecting strips, connectors, and switch and relay contacts.
Additionally, you can also find gold deposits on gadgets like GPS units and calculators.
Can you recover the Gold in Laptops and phones profitably?
Yes, anyone in the gold mines tends to have lots of money, for a reason. It doesn’t take much gold to make you lots of money and an ounce recovered could cover all your costs.
Mathematically, there’s more gold in electronic wastes than there is in rocky gold ores. For instance, a million cellphones would give you 24 kilos (50lbs) gold, 250kg (550lb) silver, 9 kg (20lb) palladium, and over 9 tonnes of copper!
In fact, the Olympic Games in Tokyo took this idea to the next level by making over 5000 medals from recycled waste. The Olympic Games organizers recovered the gold, silver and bronze from 72,000 tonnes of e-waste.
Benefits of mining gold from phones and Computers
- It is less expensive to obtain previously refined gold compared to mining new gold from the ground.
- Mining gold and other precious metals from phones and computers protect mother nature from the harmful effects of such discarded precious metals.
- Gold deposits obtained from phones and computers that are no longer in use will earn you money once you find its market. It is also a lucrative business idea once you decide to do gold extraction on a large scale.
eWaste Statistics: How We Lose Gold in Electronic Waste
Each year, an estimate of about 20million to 50 million tons of electronic waste is generated globally.
It’s a common practice that whenever new versions of cell phones, tablets, and laptops come up, users discard their old gadgets for the new ones.
Fortunately, trade-ins have come to try and control this problem of electronic waste. Trade-ins recycle precious metals found in electronic waste.
Even though trade-ins have done their best to mitigate the wastes, approximately 80% of precious metals like silver and gold still end up in landfills.
270 tonnes of gold alone gets lost in the 80% of metal discarded.
Is Recovering Gold From Electronics Worth It?
The worth you’ll get from recovering gold in electronics depends on two factors: the type of electronic waste you’ll be extracting gold from and whether you’ll undertake the extraction process on a large scale or small scale.
If you intend to conduct large-scale gold recovery from electronics, then yes, it is worth it. However, if it is a small-scale gold recovery, then you’ll get meager profits.
The process of physically disassembling gold from electronics and extracting gold isn’t a walk in the park.
How Much Gold Is In A Computer, Laptop, Cellphone?
The amount of gold you can find on either a computer, laptop, or cellphone, depends on the size and model of the specific gadget.
However, computers are estimated to have about 1/5 of a gram of gold worth about twelve dollars.
Laptops are estimated to have approximately 1/10 of a gram of gold worth about six dollars.
A cell phone has nearly 1/30 of a gram of gold, worth approximately two dollars.
Is it possible to recover gold from electronic wastes without toxic chemicals?
Extracting gold from e-waste is tricky, especially since it involves the use of hazardous chemicals.
Thus it’s advisable to let professionals handle the gold extraction process.
But what happens if you want to do it on your own without using these hazardous chemicals?
Other techniques you can employ to extract gold from electronics include: Using the reverse electroplating method or using a weak acid like vinegar.