Britain’s Royal Mint is Salvaging Gold from E-Waste – Recycling Precious Metals for Green Investors

Credit: British Royal Mint

Perhaps the least-debated of all environmental dangers, unrecycled electronic waste is piling up around the world at alarming rates.

Inside every laptop and smartphone is an electronic circuit board—and gold is used as an insulator and a conductor of sensitive components.

Now, the British Royal Mint has placed this gold at the center of its sustainability strategy going forward. The mint is using a patented new chemistry—created by Canadian-based Excir—to recover and reuse the gold, and other metals, within these old circuit boards.

“We estimate that 99% of the UK’s circuit boards are currently shipped overseas to be processed at high temperatures in smelters,” said Sean Millard, Chief Growth Officer at The Royal Mint. “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.”

The unique chemistry is capable of recovering almost 100% of the precious metals contained within electronic waste—selectively targeting the metal in seconds. However it is biodegradable, and has negligible impact on the environment.

Construction of a new plant in South Wales should be completed this year, and will be up and running in 2023—and capable of processing 90 tons of circuit boards every week, while producing hundreds of kilograms of gold.

A new 100% recycled gold investment fund that’s also Green

For at least 4,000 years, societies have seen the value in basing monetary exchange systems on gold. It allows a great amount of value to be stored in a very small object, and ancient metalsmiths found it was flexible, could never be contaminated with lesser metals, and could easily be melted down and reused.

From investing your dollars in public solar energy companies to literally buying shares of carbon offset programs in the carbon market, there are a lot of ways of trying to ensure your green stays green.

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The Royal Mint is now looking at the precious metals market to offer greener investing solutions, developing a 100% recycled gold ETF.

Partnering with Quintet Private Bank, the Mint is releasing a physical gold commodity ETF on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker RMAU. This fund will represent shares of bars made entirely from surplus or upcycled gold used in the minting process—and never gold that’s been extracted from conflict zones, or by extractive, emissions-heavy mining.

It’s impossible to know if a bar or coin owned today came from mining or from a recycled source, and normally the Mint’s surplus gold would be sold to third-parties to produce things like circuit boards or dental crowns.

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Now, however, the Mint is guaranteeing that all weight and shares of RMAU come from recycled gold.

Launching on the Italian, French, and German stock exchanges, there is currently no plan for introducing it on American exchanges, and thus an international broker would be required to purchase it from the States.

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