family recycling made easy

« Back to Home

Refining Gold From Old Electronics

Posted on

You might be surprised to learn that there is real gold inside of a lot of the electronics we purchase. From old cell phones and computers to game systems, gold is an excellent conductor and is used in circuit boards and other applications. If you have a lot of old electronics lying around or you buy them at thrift stores and flea markets, you can turn those old pieces of junk into a profitable venture by refining the gold from them.

What You Need

Before you begin attempting to refine gold from the electronic devices, make sure you have plenty of room to work with and that it is a well ventilated area. Here is what you will need:

  • Rubber gloves, apron, and safety glasses
  • An assortment of old electronics
  • Bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide (you can find this at any drug store)
  • 31% muriatic acid (found at many hardware stores)
  • 99.9% methyl alcohol (also known as fuel line antifreeze)
  • Funnel with attached filter
  • 2 large glass containers (you can use old coffee pots if you wish)
  • A glass or plastic stirring device
  • Scale
  • Borax
  • Blow torch
  • Clay bowls
  • Measuring cups

The Refining Process

Once you've gathered everything together, you can begin the process of refining. First you'll need to disassemble all of the electronics and remove any areas with gold, usually found in the circuit boards. Once you've done this, you can begin putting the parts in your glass container with a mixture of two parts muriatic acid and one part hydrogen peroxide. Be sure you do this outside and that you're wearing goggles and gloves while doing it. This chemical combination will begin to "eat" away at any other materials other than the gold and can take about a week or so. Let it sit and check on it periodically. Once the week has passed, you will notice the mixture has become dark in color. Take the mixture and pour it very slowly (with goggles and gloves on) through your filtered funnel into another glass container. This will strain all excess material and nothing but gold should be left behind.

Sort out all of the pieces of gold you've recovered, and clean them using the methyl hydrate solution. Now it is time to melt the gold down. Using the clay bowl, pour the gold into it and add a large amount of Borax. The Borax helps bind the gold together and is safe and non-toxic. Place the gold and Borax solution over the blow torch, applying heat evenly and consistently. You will see the Borax melt away and the small gold pieces will begin to meld together. Let it cool and weigh it using the scale. This will tell you just how much gold you've managed to salvage from old electronics.

For more information, visit sites like