How to Extract Pure Gold From Busted Electronics

By Bryan Lufkin on at

That little bead right there? That’s all the gold in two kilos of electronics waste. And it took so very much work to get there.

Here’s what YouTuber is no stranger to the refinement of precious metals. Previously he got silver from shit-tier fireworks and found platinum dust on the side of the road. But striking gold in junk electronics is just so much more involved than expected. Here’s what he had to do to get that tiny pellet:

  • Grind it all up in a ball mill
  • Incinerate and sift the ashes
  • Do some panning to remove the trash
  • Run a magnet through the slop to get rid of bits of iron
  • Melt it down at 926 degrees C to remove lead
  • Stick it in a water-and-acid bath and electrocute it to remove the copper
  • Dissolve the whole thing in more acid
  • Melt it, yet again, with flux and litharge

And at the end of all that work, Cody was left with... four milligrams of gold, from a two-kilogram bag of busted circuitboards. As he mentions early on, the margins on this type of work are very tight, but for the purposes of the video, it’s worth it to watch the bright flash of that gold bead solidifying.