Picture of Gold Recovery
Wait don’t throw those old electronics in the garbage, there’s gold in them there things. How about putting it in your pockets instead of someone else’s pocket?

Laptops, phones, cameras, and the like are filled with gold plated circuit boards even printers and scanners have gold, silver, and copper, even platinum in them.

Gold is a precious, conductive, and pliable metal that retains a stable value better than many commodities. Its chemical properties make it useful for the manufacture of computers parts and electronics. Some people find it profitable to attempt to extract the gold from these scraps, then refine and sell it. This complicated process requires chemical expertise as well as access to various chemistry equipment. However, with the right knowledge, experience and tools, you can remove valuable gold from computer parts, other discarded electronics.

Things You Will Need:

Scrap electronics
Rubber gloves
Rubber apron
Hydrogen Peroxide 3% I got from local pharmacy.
Muriatic acid 31% local hardware store.
Methyl Hydrate is 99.9% methyl alcohol it is used for fuel line antifreeze and can be purchased at your local hardware or automotive supply.
Funnel filter I used a drip coffee filter
2 large glass containers I like coffee pots for chemical heat.
Stir stick glass or plastic
Weigh scale mine is accurate to 1/10th of a grain.
Blow Torch hot enough to hard solder.
Clay bowls just about anything that has a melting point 500o above the melting point of gold will do.
Measuring cup anything you can use to make a 2:1 mix will do.

Although no special skills are needed one should follow all chemical and heat safety procedures.
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astrong08 months ago
so I have a quick question. what date would you say most of those electronics were from? 70's 80's 90's?
Josehf Murchison (author)  astrong08 months ago
All of them including 1940s and 2000s

so about how much did just the PCB's and gold fingers make, and was the stuff shown in the pictures all you had? cause I have like 4times the amount of PCB's and gold fingers then that as well as processors so just wondering (and all the PCB's have all the traces gold plated) like this one:

like this one

Josehf Murchison (author)  sleblanc22 days ago

The one pot produced about 4 grams but I have about 500 pounds of circuit boards and other components to process.

I just dissembled a radar unit from WWII that had about a pound of silver and gold in it, older electronics have higher quantities of gold and silver.

Poppy Ann8 months ago
A great instructable, here in the UK trying to just get Muriatic acid is almost impossible unlike the USA where you can get it from just about any hardware store.

many thanks for putting this instructable together.

You can usually get Muriatic Acid at pool supply places in Canada (if you live in a large city, that is) fairly easily (most at 30-32%). In the UK, Muriatic Acid is sold as 'Spirits of Salt' as a domestic cleaning product (usually at percentages that the US calls industrial grades, 32 - 38%) which you will want to be exremely careful with.

dburtuk Poppy Ann8 months ago
Hi Poppy Ann, Muriatic acid is Hydrochloric Acid, Its available from Amazon in the UK at the 30% mark....

Josehf Murchison (author)  Poppy Ann8 months ago
Here in Canada it isn't that easy ether, some things require you to pass a university course in order to get the licence so you can buy the chemicals.

Because of my work I have 5
Wow, here in the US, We use it as driveway cleaner... lol
Josehf Murchison (author)  tstubblefield18 months ago
Here in Canada the Muriatic acid isn't bad try buying fertilizer I sharecropped urea is a fertilizer.
yes each country has its own idea what their people can have and not have, its about time the world was all the same.
Josehf Murchison (author)  Poppy Ann8 months ago
It is environmentalists and terrorists.
batman968 months ago
I was really intrigued by your article here. Something I have never thought of before.
I have an foot locker over flowing with circuit boards, the box is like 2*2*4 ft. Some computer mother boards a few processors, but mostly audio amplifiers, and a few dvd players. How much do you think could be obtained from this supply? I just keep them around and desolder parts as I need them.
Josehf Murchison (author)  batman968 months ago
I do the same thing I strip the parts I want, expensive audio and video can have more gold video games like X Box are loaded the circuit in the intro pic is a tower audio card and it is covered in gold. Most of it will only be 9K plate but it is still gold, if you have a couple hundred pounds of circuit boards you can have an OZ or more.

I had a transmitter from 1940 it had 2 lb of silver in the tuner and a old industrial video recorder from a TV station it had an OZ of gold in the video head alone ICs have gold in them also.
Tom Hargrave8 months ago
So, what happens to the other metals you burn off?
Josehf Murchison (author)  Tom Hargrave8 months ago
Some oxidizes and turns to ash and some the higher temperature metals turn to slag, this slag is high in copper so I sell it with my scrap copper. There is a market for everything if you look.
TREX ZoaR0K8 months ago
about how much money worth of gold would i get from 1 laptop and 2 old desktop computers
Josehf Murchison (author)  TREX ZoaR0K8 months ago
That is really dependent on what is in them and the gold market extra cards and maker and where it was made you can have any where from $20.00 to $200.00.
Some of the gold will be 9K and some will be 18K but none will be 24K unless you get prototypes.
info_kill8 months ago
Nice Instructable! I see in your profile that you are a photographer. Do you know of any process to extract Platinum / Palladium from scrap electronics? I have heard that these can be had from MMCs but I'm not quite sure how. My interest is purely for my own printing experiments as a hobbyist photog.
Josehf Murchison (author)  info_kill8 months ago
Wish I did all I get is silver and gold, you should see the stalks on them.
bsimon28 months ago
this is cool i have piles of electronics just sitting around and this process would be a lot easier than trying to make use of them....i would like to know the process for the gold plated material as well as a way to separate the silver from the gold if at all possible
Josehf Murchison (author)  bsimon28 months ago
To separate the gold from the silver you need to use these methods.
There is the nitric acid process.
The sulfuric acid process.
Reverse electrolysis process.
All of these take a hotter torch than I have and these three methods use chemicals due to 9/11 many of these chemicals are highly regulated because they are also used to make explosives.
The Muriatic acid process which I used.
And there is cupellation process which I used.
i have been watching several youtube videos and have noticed several differant solutions one of which disolves the gold into the solution its self, i think the chemicals were Muratic acid 31.5%, house hold bleach, sodiummetabisolphate

would this outcome be any different than yours with your given solution?

here is one of the videos i have seen and is using a different solution than you are.
Josehf Murchison (author)  bsimon28 months ago
I like that one tells you how to separate the gold doesn't tell you how to get the gold out of the solution.

Add vitamin C ascorbic acid,
it tells you in the next video i believe ( i watched about 4 of his videos) to add something and it makes the gold materialize and form in flakes at the bottom.

my question being about that video in particular is does it extract the gold in a more pure form than the method you have shown here with out the silver being mix'd in?

the idea behind this question being a more pure extraction process and then perhaps repeat your process for silver extraction?

here is the video he shows how to get the gold from the solution:
Josehf Murchison (author)  bsimon28 months ago
what they don't tell you is with solid pieces you do what I did then spatter the gold in water. then follow that process.
stoobers bsimon28 months ago
Put all the copper plated gold in a pile, then melt it into a puck. Wait for the copper price to rise, then sell the copper puck. Forget the gold, the concentration on plated objects is super low, and copper is a valuable metal in its own right.
Josehf Murchison (author)  stoobers8 months ago
You don't loose the copper it is the slag.
Is it copper nitrate or some other copper salt? If so, wouldn't they have to reduce it to get it back to metallic copper?
Josehf Murchison (author)  stoobers8 months ago
The slag or the acid residue?
Thanks in advance for asking these questions.
Regarding slag or acid residue containing a copper salt: are they both (or either) copper salts?
Josehf Murchison (author)  stoobers8 months ago
The slag I am going to cash in as #3 copper.

I am trying to find that out now about the acid residue I am thinking about making conductive paint with it.

if I can separate the copper moliquels it should make good paint.
sleblanc26 hours ago

Are you able to re-use the acid?

Ahemait1 month ago

hi Joe! first, great piece. I havejuststarted a bout 3lbs of trimmed connectors. I am almostthree days intothesoak. someflakesarevisible sofar. I waswondering abouthowmuch will flake off and howmanyI willneed to resoak? isit possible tojustadd more acid and peroxide?

Josehf Murchison (author)  Ahemait1 month ago

Stir it up a little some times the flakes are just sitting on the connector in place.

After a week if some of the gold flakes are still attached to the connector separate the connectors and re soak the connectors with the gold flakes still attached.

cmichael cook3 months ago
Wow. This is absolutely great!!! I scrap metal for a living and I have been doing it along time. I have a real passion for it. I have so many questions for you. I didn't know microwaves had gold in them. Where should I look I've only been collecting the fingers from towers.
Josehf Murchison (author)  cmichael cook3 months ago

For the gold in microwaves they are in the magnatrons and circuit boards.


Firefa113 months ago

Would a higher percent hydrogen peroxide have any effect?

Josehf Murchison (author)  Firefa113 months ago

Yes if it is high enough it can blow up and kill you.

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