There are now more combined active and deactivated cell phones in existence than human beings.
You can find gold in laptop and desktop computers. So it stands to reason that inside smartphones and even old cell phones, there are also trace slivers of both gold and silver getting used too.
Here we describe, 'How Much Gold is in a Cell Phone?' We also ponder common questions relative to metallurgy.
Why is gold often used in high-end cell phones and other electronic parts, over cheaper and faster-conducting silver?
Let's dig into the cell phone gold content details below.
Gold Cell Phone Extraction is a Messy Global Business
The scientist, at 20 seconds in this clip above, mentions that something like 7% of gold demand is for electronics.
That is correct; if you study gold investing fundamental truths, you will see that about 10% of newly mined gold volumes get funneled into high-end electronics every year. Gold laced electronics like the smartphone or computer you are using to read this content.
How Much Gold is in a Cell Phone?
The answer varies depending on the e-waste recycling source, and cell phone recycled.
As far back as 2010, the US Geological Survey stated that almost a decade ago, 130 million cell phones were being retired each year in the USA alone.
That number has likely only grown on an annual basis as we head into the year 2020.
Collectively, 130 million cell phones conservatively weigh about 30 million pounds. When scrapped this yields over 67 million oz of copper, almost 1.5 million oz of silver bullion, and over 125,000 oz of gold bullion.
And here is what about nine tons of silver or 288,000 ounces of silver looks like.
Now multiply both those amounts by about four to five times while also remembering this data is almost 10 years old. It only measured the USA's cell phone e-waste alone (we are only 1 of 20 people on Earth).
Many old computers and cell phones don't get recycled because people are concerned about privacy. Often old cell phones and junked out laptops or desktops sit in storage bins for years.
Most gold is still gets used either as a long term store of value money (central banks and investors) or within high-grade 22k and 24k gold jewelry in the east (India and China mainly buy gold jewelry pieces priced close to their gold weight value).
A bullion buyer years before the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, James Anderson is a grounded precious metals researcher, content creator, and physical investment grade bullion professional. He has authored several Gold & Silver Guides and has been featured on the History Channel, Zero Hedge, Gold-Eagle, Silver Seek, Value Walk and many more. You can pick up Jame's most recent, comprehensive 200+ Page book here at SD Bullion.
Given that repressed commodity values are now near 100-year low level valuations versus large US stocks, James remains convinced investors and savers should buy and maintain a prudent physical bullion position now, before more unfunded promises debase away in the coming decades.