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PCB | March 15, 2007

New technique to get the gold out of PCBs

A new simple process of recovering metals from Printed Circuit Boards is more environmentally friendly than existing techniques.
Professor Derek Fray, of the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at Cambridge, says the UK currently generates 50,000 tonnes per annum of PCB scrap, of which only 15% is recycled.

Professor Fray has developed a process that involves dissolving the solder with fluoroboric acid, shredding the bared boards, leaching the copper and then burning the remainder in such a way as to catch the bromine. The copper, tin, lead and precious metals are recovered by electrowinning. According to Professor Fray, the process can be safely operated in a clean environment.

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