-- Published: Sunday, 17 August 2014 | Print | Disqus
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
This week the BBC reported some details on a subject of which most gold investors may be generally aware: that mobile telephones typically contain a small amount of gold. Speculating on the prospects for recycling that gold, the BBC concluded that it probably would not accomplish much.
"About 2,700 tonnes of gold are produced every year from mining -- about 7.4 tonnes per day," the BBC said. "To get that from mobile phones we'd need to recycle 300 million of them. And if we did that every day, the world's estimated seven billion mobile phones in active use would run out in 23 days."
But 23 days' worth of gold supply is really not so minor in the age of gold price suppression. For the BBC report overlooked two crucial questions:
-- In the hands of central banks and their bullion bank agents, how much paper gold could be hypothecated and rehypothecated from those recycled phones and sold into the market to help suppress the price of the once and possibly future world reserve currency?
-- And could the BBC itself and other mainstream financial news organizations continue to be relied upon not to report about the purposes and mechanisms of gold price suppression? (See http://www.gata.org/taxonomy/term/23.)
Recycling that was creative enough might extend the gold price suppression scheme for many years while giving it a politically correct sheen.
The BBC report is appended.
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
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How Much Gold Can We Get from Mobile Phones?
By Keith Moore and Faizal Farook
British Broadcasting Corp., London
Friday, August 15, 2014
It's said that a bag of used mobile phones contains a gram of gold. There are a lot of mobile phones in the world, so, William Kremer asks, how much of the gold we need can we get from them?
There be gold in them thar smartphones, said the European commissioner for the environment, Janez Potocnik, last month. He didn't use those exact words, but that was the general idea.
"The business case is clear," he said, as he launched revised waste and recycling targets for the EU. "There's gold in waste -- literally. It takes a ton of ore to get 1 gram of gold. But you can get the same amount from recycling the materials in 41 mobile phones."
This seems to be largely correct, whether the commissioner was talking about an imperial ton, or a metric tonne. (One is 1,016 kilograms, the other 1,000 kilograms.)
In gold-rich ore deposits, there are concentrations of gold at one or two parts per million, says Dave Holwell, an economic geologist at the University of Leicester. That equates to 1 or 2 grams per tonne.
And the idea that 41 handsets contain 1 gram of gold stems from a United Nations report on electronic waste. Brussels-based technology company Umicore told the BBC you can actually get this amount of gold from just 35 phones.
To look at it another way, Umicore says a tonne of old phones (weighed without their batteries) yields about 300 grams of gold.
But the business case may not be as clear as the commissioner claims. At current gold prices, the amount in your handset is worth less than L1 ($1.67). While Umicore says extracting gold from phones is commercially viable, another company, London's Genuine Solutions Group, told the BBC it makes little or no money this way.
The wider point of Potocnik's speech was to promote what he called "the circular economy."
"In essence we propose to make Europe a society without waste: to take the 600 million tons of materials contained in our waste and pump them back into productive use in the economy," he said.
Of course you can recycle gold from a range of different products, but how far could we satisfy our appetite for gold from phones alone? According to Dave Holwell, about 2,700 tonnes of gold are produced every year from mining -- about 7.4 tonnes per day. To get that from mobile phones we'd need to recycle 300 million of them. And if we did that every day, the world's estimated seven billion mobile phones in active use would run out in 23 days.
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-- Published: Sunday, 17 August 2014 | E-Mail | Print | Source: GoldSeek.com