Your iPhone is a Gold Mine

Literally, a gold mine.  A team or researchers analyzed an iPhone to see what elements were used in manufacturing one. You must watch the video (below), where they toss an iPhone into a blender.

Years ago, when I was in school, they tried to give us the metric system, but we rejected it.  For those of you that need help with conversion, there are 2,200 grams (2.2 kg) to a pound.  So these are very small amounts of stuff.

They found 33 grams of iron, 13 grams of silicon, 7 grams of chromium, 4 grams of carbon, 1.6 grams of calcium, 6 grams of copper, 2.5 grams of aluminum, 0.7 grams of tin, and 2.7 grams of nickel.

Critical elements found included 900 mg of tungsten, 70 mg each of cobalt and molybdenum, 2 mg of indium, and germanium, 7 mg of antimony, 10 mg of niobium, 20 mg of tantalum.

Rare earth elements found included 160 mg of neodymium, 30 mg of praseodymium, 5 mg of gadolinium, 2 mg of dysprosium.

Critical and rare earth elements are often mined in conflict zones in Africa, so there is an unfortunate human cost to producing these metals.

Precious metals found were 90 mg of silver and 36 mg of gold.  This is actually 100 times more gold by weight than found in high grade gold ore deposits.  The current value of gold is $41.00 per gram or 4.1 cents per mg, which is $1.44 per iPhone.  Silver is half a cent per mg, or $0.45.  About 2 bucks per phone.  So you might need a few million phones if your plan is to get rich extracting gold from iPhones.  Probably roughly the same for Android models, I bet.

This experiment ultimately is about the costs and benefits of electronics recycling.  Evidently the costs of extraction outweigh the value of the recovered metals at this time, or we would see more of it.  Thanks to the Smithsonian for this information. Have fun watching the video.



About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, Bob also conducts security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. Bob also teaches Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. Bob works as an instruction for CompTIA’s non-profit IT-Ready Program in the Twin Cities. IT-Ready is a tuition free 8-week program designed to teach students of all ages the fundamentals of IT support to prepare them for an entry level position in Information Technology Support. Graduates of the classes take the exams to become CompTIA A+ certified. Bob is a frequent speaker at conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. Bob has been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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