Gold mining takes on a new meaning at the University of Saskatchewan

Gold mining takes on a new meaning at the University of Saskatchewan
WATCH ABOVE: Researchers at the U of S have created a new way to solve a growing problem in gold metal waste.

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are lauding a golden idea to stop electronic waste.

Chemistry professor Steve Foley and PhD students Hiwa Salimi and Loghman Moradi, are behind an environmentally-friendly solution that extracts gold from electronics.

“How it works, is by just passing electronic waste through it, literally in ten to twenty seconds, all the gold is leeched,” Foley said.

“Literally 99.9 per cent of the gold is gone within seconds, leaving behind all the other metals.”

READ MORE: Electronic waste skyrockets in Canada

It can solve a growing problem.

Fifty million tons of e-waste goes to waste streams worldwide, and it’s increasing by up to twenty per cent every year.

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“Literally ninety percent of gold is wasted. And only ten percent has an application,” Foley said.

One hundred litres of the yellow-liquid solution can produce five kilograms of gold, an amount that can go for fifty thousand dollars.

Chris Bowman with the school’s Innovation Enterprise office said the idea is revolutionary.

“Because it’s a nicely scalable technology and can be done on a small scale, there’s a potential of maybe putting mobile factories together, that can be shipped to the sites where electronic waste is building up,” Bowman said.

“The commitment is for this to go to zero-landfill. This is not a cash grab to get the gold, and shunt the rest away.”

The plan is to begin an operation somewhere in Saskatoon in the near future.