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Kiwi companies perform e-waste alchemy

February 8, 2018

(Credit: Mint Innovation)

Mint Innovation and Remarkit Solutions have inked a deal to build a factory dedicated to extracting valuable metals from e-waste.

As the New Zealand Herald reports, the two companies have signed a deal which will lead to the building of a commercial facility “for salvaging high-value metals such as gold, silver and palladium from electronic waste”.

Mint Innovation, a Cleantech company, “has developed the low-cost recovery process using specialised microorganisms which purify the metals from e-waste in what chief executive Will Barker says is an environmentally benign process.”

“Our team, led by Dr Ollie Crush, has successfully extracted precious metals on a small scale and it is now time to take the technology further,” Barker said.

“With Remarkit we can continue its development in New Zealand. The scaled-up facility in Auckland will initially process up to 200 tonnes of old circuit boards per annum.”

Barker explained that the lower cost model “meant the company could process a much smaller amount compared to regular smelters”.

“It’s very exciting for us – we have developed a technology that we are very satisfied can be scaled and taken global and the first step for us is to build a New Zealand facility,” Barker said.

“We’re currently looking at Wellington and Auckland [for the facility], and Remarkit as a leading e-waste recycler is a key partner to enable us to have access to the waste that we need to process.”

Currently, in New Zealand, which has received UN condemnation for its handling of e-waste, the waste is broken down into separate parts and these are then exported to other countries to extract the precious metals.

“We know the Government is keen to keep e-waste out of landfills and New Zealand being named and shamed in a report on e-waste by the UN-funded International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in late last year has certainly sharpened our focus.”

Barker did not offer any specifics regarding the cost of processing the e-waste but revealed that it cost less “than other processes currently available.”

 

 

 

 

Categories : Around the Industry

Tags : eWaste New Zealand Recycling

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