The Royal Mint is building the world’s first recycling factory to turn old technology into gold.
The “Midas Touch” plant will extract the precious metal from discarded circuit boards.
The recovered gold will be used by the Royal Mint.
It’s estimated nearly 100 tonnes of unwanted boards can be processed every week – creating hundreds of kilograms of gold.
The technology can retrieve 99 per cent of precious metals from the electronic waste.
Work on the plant at its site in Llantrisant, South Wales starts this month (March) and will take a year
About 40 jobs for chemists and engineers will be created.
The pioneering technology was created by Canadian-based Excir.
Sean Millard, Chief Growth Officer at The Royal Mint, said:
“’Working with our partners Excir, we have introduced world first technology to the UK capable of recovering precious metals from electronic waste in seconds.
“This approach is revolutionary and offers huge potential to reuse our planet’s precious resources, reduce the environmental footprint of electronic waste and create new jobs.
“We estimate that 99 per cent of the UK’s circuit boards are currently shipped overseas to be processed at high temperatures in smelters.
“As the volume of electronic waste increases each year, this problem is only set to become bigger.
“When fully operational our plant will be the first of its kind in the world – processing tonnes of electronic waste each week and providing a new source of high quality gold direct to The Royal Mint.”
Anne Jessopp, Chief Executive of The Royal Mint, added:
“Our investment in a new plant will see The Royal Mint become a leader in sustainably sourced precious metals and provide the UK with a much-needed domestic solution to the growing problem of electronic waste.”
More than 50 million tonnes of electronic waste is produced globally every year.
Less than 20 per cent currently recycled.