Gold is one of the most expensive raw materials. Many people think of valuable jewelry when they hear this term. In addition, gold is also used in large quantities in the electronics industry. This material is particularly suitable for the fine contacts of the computer chips. Many people assume that this is because gold has an extremely high conductivity. However, this is not the case. The conductivity is high, but it is lower than that of copper or silver. The decisive advantage is that gold is extremely resistant to oxidation. With other materials, an oxide layer quickly forms, which impairs the signal transmission at the tiny contacts. For this reason, gold is an indispensable material that is used in almost all computer chips.
Gold mining in nature: expensive and harmful to the environment
The traditional way of extracting gold is to mine it naturally. However, this has serious consequences for the environment. For this purpose, entire mountains are often removed, so that animals and plants lose their habitat. In addition, very toxic chemicals are used. Again and again it can be read that these escape into the environment and contaminate entire regions.
Recovery from electronic waste - a worthwhile alternative
For these reasons, it is important to find alternative sources for extracting gold. The use of electrical and electronic scrap is ideal for this. The lifespan of computers, smartphones and similar devices is usually limited to a few years. Then they are disposed of. So far, however, extensive recycling has only rarely taken place. This would be very worthwhile. It is estimated that one kilo of old smartphones contains around 0.25 grams of gold. That doesn't sound like too much. However, if you consider that around 60 kg of gold ore are required for the same amount, it becomes clear that recycling can also be financially worthwhile. If these are pure computer chips that have already been sorted, the yield is even higher.