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Researchers Are Harvesting Precious Metals From Industrial Waste

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Researchers Are Harvesting Precious Metals From Industrial Waste

By MINING.com - Dec 26, 2020, 10:00 AM CST

Researchers from Kanazawa University in Japan have developed a mechanism to improve the recovery of silver and palladium ions from aqueous acidic waste.

In a paper published in the Chemical Engineering Journal, the scientists said that the process they developed involves chemically modifying ultrasmall particles of cellulose – an abundant and nontoxic biopolymer – to selectively adsorb silver and palladium ions at room temperature. Adsorption was nearly complete at acidic pH with acid concentrations of around 1 to 13% by volume.

“The adsorbent selectively chelated the soft acid silver and palladium cations,” Foni Biswas, lead author of the study, said in a media statement. “Of the 11 competing base metals we tested, only copper and lead cations were also adsorbed, but we removed them with ease.”

According to Biswas, maximum metal ion adsorption was fast compared to other approaches. It took only one hour for silver, a metal that also showed substantially higher maximum adsorption capacities at 11 mmol/g.

After adsorption, the researchers incinerated the cellulose particles to obtain elemental silver or palladium powder. Subsequent higher-temperature incineration converted the powder into pellets. Spectroscopic analyses indicated that the final metal pellets were in metallic rather than oxide form.

“We then removed nearly all of the silver and palladium from real industrial waste samples,” Biswas said. “Obtaining pure and elemental metals proceeded as smoothly as in our trial runs.”

By Mining.com

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(edited)

I want to mention a Canadian company which I have been keeping an eye on.  EnviroLeach Technologies   EVLLF on the U.S. exchange.

As a note, EnviroLeach Technologies also have a joint venture operation in Tennessee.

https://www.enviroleach.com/

pcb1.webp

Urban Mining -            E-Waste/PCBAs

truck.webp

Conventional Gold Mining

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In-Situ Gold Recovery (ISL)

EnviroLeach is an industrial technology company focused on precious metals extraction formulas and technologies.

Our unique patented and proven technology offers a cost-effective, eco-friendly and domestic alternative to the use of cyanide and smelters for the recovery of gold from E-Waste and conventional gold ores and concentrates.

EnviroLeach is led by a first-class staff of scientists and engineers. Our extensive expertise in metals recovery and hydrometallurgy positions us with a unique knowledge set applicable to our target markets, which include the gold mining and the E-Waste sectors.

EnviroLeach, through its subsidiary, EnviroCircuit, operates a 28,000 sq ft, 3,600 tonnes per annum PCBA processing facility in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Recycled printed circuit board assemblies contain the majority of the value in E-Waste. These boards typically contain over $3,500 USD worth of metals per tonne. This is significantly higher than the typical $100 - $500 USD per tonne of conventional mining ores.

EnviroLeach offers a viable domestic alternate solution for the treatment of printed circuit boards. EnviroLeach is also developing hydrometallurgical recovery applications for tin, copper, and platinum group metals which present the potential for significantly increased operating margins.

  • Effective recoveries of target metals

  • Reduction in CO2e emissions

  • Operates at ambient pressure

  • Operates at ambient temperature

  • No landfilling of solid waste

  • No water effluent

  • No off-gassing

  • Small operational footprint

  • Competitive costs to incumbent technologies

This new and unique formula is one of only a handful of chemical compounds known that can dissolve gold into solution, which is a critical step in gold mining. The leach kinetics, efficiency and safety of the EnviroLeach formula is superior to that of cyanide and its alternatives with no environmental consequences.

https://envirocircuit.com/

Edited by Tom Nolan

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5 hours ago, Tom Nolan said:

Researchers Are Harvesting Precious Metals From Industrial Waste

By MINING.com - Dec 26, 2020, 10:00 AM CST

Researchers from Kanazawa University in Japan have developed a mechanism to improve the recovery of silver and palladium ions from aqueous acidic waste.

In a paper published in the Chemical Engineering Journal, the scientists said that the process they developed involves chemically modifying ultrasmall particles of cellulose – an abundant and nontoxic biopolymer – to selectively adsorb silver and palladium ions at room temperature. Adsorption was nearly complete at acidic pH with acid concentrations of around 1 to 13% by volume.

“The adsorbent selectively chelated the soft acid silver and palladium cations,” Foni Biswas, lead author of the study, said in a media statement. “Of the 11 competing base metals we tested, only copper and lead cations were also adsorbed, but we removed them with ease.”

According to Biswas, maximum metal ion adsorption was fast compared to other approaches. It took only one hour for silver, a metal that also showed substantially higher maximum adsorption capacities at 11 mmol/g.

After adsorption, the researchers incinerated the cellulose particles to obtain elemental silver or palladium powder. Subsequent higher-temperature incineration converted the powder into pellets. Spectroscopic analyses indicated that the final metal pellets were in metallic rather than oxide form.

“We then removed nearly all of the silver and palladium from real industrial waste samples,” Biswas said. “Obtaining pure and elemental metals proceeded as smoothly as in our trial runs.”

By Mining.com

Cool concept but I can't see it being employed outside of very niche applications.  There just is very little of those rare elements in the waste.  The authors even noted that it collected a lot of copper and lead (which could be useful itself). 

Just putting the waste in a huge tailings pond is cheap.

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On 12/26/2020 at 10:56 PM, Enthalpic said:

Cool concept but I can't see it being employed outside of very niche applications.  There just is very little of those rare elements in the waste.  The authors even noted that it collected a lot of copper and lead (which could be useful itself). 

Just putting the waste in a huge tailings pond is cheap.

Some firms are now precious metal mining from street dust in the UK. A lot of precious metals deposited in them from CATS and extraction reduces the cleaning costs if you can economically recover something of value, 

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6 hours ago, NickW said:

Some firms are now precious metal mining from street dust in the UK. A lot of precious metals deposited in them from CATS and extraction reduces the cleaning costs if you can economically recover something of value, 

The snow dumps and associated ponds are interesting around here. Massive piles of sand and ponds of salty water. They process it and reuse as much as possible again the next winter.

There certainly is some metals of value in that mess, they just would be hard to extract.  Maybe the containment ponds would accumulate it over the years.

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How Gold, Silver And Platinum Are Used In The Battle Against COVID-19

By MINING.com - Jan 02, 2021, 12:00 PM CST

https://oilprice.com/Metals/Gold/How-Gold-Silver-And-Platinum-Are-Used-In-The-Battle-Against-COVID-19.html

As covid-19 spread across the globe last spring, investors rushed to precious metals as a financial safe haven. Gold rose to over $2,000 by early August, up more than 30% from the start of the year. Silver surged more than 50% over the same period, reflecting the common correlation among precious metals during times of financial uncertainty or volatility. Providing financial protection is not the only role that precious metals are playing in the fight against covid-19. The metals also have broad applications in the medical field, well beyond the dental uses most people associate with them.

Combatting covid-19: gold, silver and platinum

Researchers have developed drugs and tests that use silver to detect and protect against the virus. Serological assays, a type of blood test, employ silver and gold nanoparticles to quickly determine if antigens exist in a patient’s bloodstream. These are critical in determining if the person is infectious and to ensure that donated plasma used to treat ill patients is safe.

Figure 1. Covid-19 serology tests (antibody tests)

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Beyond silver’s diagnostic and therapeutic uses in the fight against covid-19, there are also trace amounts of silver in the fabric of some masks. While not anti-viral, silver does protect against other bacteria and eliminates odors, which helps when wearing the masks for extended periods of time.

Silver has been used for thousands of years to prevent microbial infections and was the most important antimicrobial agent in use before the introduction of antibiotics.

The fight against covid-19 highlights a trend: growing demand for precious metals in healthcare. This has particular relevance now, but also into the near future as the population continues to age. National health spending in the U.S. is expected to rise to 19.4% of GDP (gross domestic product) by 2027, or $6 trillion a year, representing a generational shift in spending. Precious metals, because of their unique physical attributes, are expected to play a role in this shift.

he fight against cancer: gold and platinum Treatments for certain cancers employ gold and platinum. This role has the potential to grow, accelerated by recent breakthroughs.

Since its natural properties slow cells — both healthy and cancerous ones — from dividing, platinum (Pt) has long been used in chemotherapy treatments, including in drugs known as cisplatin and carboplatin. A downside to these platinum-based drugs is their non-specificity, which creates some of the adverse side-effects in chemotherapy, like hair loss.

Figure 2. Chemical structures of cisplatin and transplatin

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Gold nanoparticles have become a focus of a new type of more targeted treatment. Researchers are testing therapies that use gold-silica nanoshells to target cancer cells, preventing the diseased areas from spreading. Similar to the platinum treatments, it essentially suffocates the diseased cells, but the gold nanoparticles are more effective in attacking the unwanted cells. This treatment has shown particular promise in prostate cancers, a disease that impacts about 11% of men.

Additional therapeutic uses

Gold nanoparticles (tiny spheres made of gold atoms with a diameter of only a few billionths of a meter) have also shown potential in the testing and treating of HIV/AIDS. In a study, researchers were able to detect the HIV virus, even in situations where the virus had little development. This brings hope of earlier detection. In an early study of monkeys with an HIV-like virus, gold nanoparticles reduced the number of infected cells. Though still very early days for this research, it provides some promising potential.

Gold has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce joint inflammation and pain, and gold preparations were among the original treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Gold is also used in rapid tests for malaria, allowing doctors to test the disease within 20 minutes. This has value, particularly in parts of the world where there they lack access to labs.

Platinum and palladium have similar biological properties. While platinum is typically selected for many uses, palladium can stand in platinum’s stead for biological purposes.

Since precious metals are inert, they react with other chemicals in few naturally occurring environments. They are also electrically conductive, opening applications where the body or organs are stimulated directly. And they are strong, so they do not break easily. This has encouraged the broad use of platinum in catheters. Electrophysiology catheters, for example, use electrodes to measure cardiac muscle activity. The platinum electrodes make the device possible.

Figure 3. Gold nanoparticles support new drug development and drug delivery systems

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A place in medical technology

Germs do not spread on a silver surface, due to its anti-microbial properties. This makes it an ideal component of many of the devices and tools one sees in a hospital. In fact, silver is much more useful in medical devices than in medicines because of its toxicity – too much silver in the body can cause Argyria, a blue or grey hue in the skin. But in the medical technology field, it has a place because of this germ-protective property. Staphylococcus aureus, a dangerous and highly infectious bacterium, spreads quickly in hospitals. To limit the spread, hospitals often use equipment lined with silver, from surgical tools to stethoscopes to even the furniture. Silver is also often incorporated in breathing tubes and catheters to protect against infections.

Platinum is also broadly used in medical devices, including stents and pacemakers, in addition to catheters. Platinum reduces the likelihood that the body will reject the devices. It also appears in X-rays, allowing healthcare workers to track the progress of the operation.

Platinum plays a critical role in neuromodulation devices, which help treat Parkinson’s patients’ neurological conditions by sending electric signals to the central nervous system. In these “brain pacemakers,” there is platinum in the electrodes and within some of the device’s components.

Figure 4. Platinum (Pt) is a critical components in implantable cardioverter defibrillator

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Source: Johnson Matthey

The broader value of precious metals

The healthcare sector represents approximately 3-5% of the overall precious metals market. However, as our society ages and the need for healthcare applications increases, the use and demand for precious metals in medicine will continue to expand. This often overlooked contribution of precious metals to fighting disease speaks to the broader value of these metals and their critical multi-varied roles.

By Mining.com

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Silver and Health

As mentioned above in the MINING.COM article, there is a vast amount of scientific literature and applications for silver in the health field.  People can currently buy garments and sheets made with silver.  (One can get the stink out of socks)

Here is a great source of information citing the scientific studies on the topic of health and silver.

https://search.mercola.com/results.aspx?q=silver#stq=silver 

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Price of Gold Fundamental Daily Forecast – Investors Losing Confidence in Impact of Vaccine Rollouts

Gold has nearly retraced the entire break from its November 9 top at $1973.30. That move was triggered by the news of the vaccine.

10 minutes ago (Jan 04, 2021 2:13 PM GMT)
 
Gold-Bars.jpg?func=cover&q70&width=615
 

Gold futures began the new year with a bang, climbing nearly $50 or more than 2% on Monday, reaching its highest level in nearly two months. Although the U.S. Dollar is trading only marginally lower, gold’s price action suggests buyers are showing a delayed reaction to the recent plunge in the greenback. The fact that the major players are back from holiday also likely contributed to the market’s strength.

At 13:51 GMT, February Comex gold is trading $1945.10, up $50.00 or +2.64%.

Probably the biggest influences on gold prices today are prospects of tougher restrictions to combat a new variant of the coronavirus. The price action also suggests that the euphoria from the rollout of the vaccines is wearing off as the focus now shifts to the new variant.

Furthermore, the rollout isn’t going as smoothly in parts of the world, especially in the United States, where the country fell well short of its goal to vaccinate 20 million people before the end of the year. This is causing concerns that the pandemic in the U.S. will extend well into 2021.

When the vaccines were first announced, gold traders aggressively sold on the notion that the global economy would recover faster. The numbers now cast doubt on that happening, leading investors into gold on the hopes of additional fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Traders could also be betting on a Democratic sweep in Tuesday’s run-off elections in the U.S. state of Georgia, which will decide which party controls the Senate.

“The chances of the Democrats winning both seats have increased late. This would make it easier for newly elected U.S. President Biden to push through his planned expansionary fiscal policy,” Commerzbank said in a note.

Daily Forecast

I think the potentially stricter curbs in Britain and Japan are providing the most support for gold prices on Monday although they have not dampened demand for higher risk assets.

The Japanese government said on Monday it was considering declaring a state of emergency in and around Tokyo as coronavirus cases climb. I think it’s going to be easier for other countries to make similar moves if Japan follows through with its threat.

Furthermore, I also believe that President-elect Joe Biden will have to seriously consider shutting down parts of the county in order to stem the spread of the virus instead of just throwing money after the problem.

Gold has nearly retraced the entire break from its November 9 top at $1973.30. That move was triggered by the news of the vaccine. A trade through this level will suggest that gold investors have lost confidence in the government’s ability to slow the spread of the virus through vaccinations.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

LIVE CHART - https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/gold

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