“There’s gold in them thar computers”

Recycling gold from e-waste is a better option than mining the Coromandel forest park

Instead of destructive gold mining in pristine native forest Conservation Park areas in the Coromandel, we can mine the gold in our electronic waste. Mining e-waste is now possible in New Zealand with the powering up of Aotearoa’s first shredding and optical sorting machinery for e-waste at Computer Recycling Ltd in Penrose.

“This is a huge development in avoiding electronic waste going to landfill, and being able to recycle precious minerals such as gold”, said Denis Tegg, Thames Coromandel representative on the Waikato Regional Council

“Now electronic equipment such as laptops, monitors and PCs which cannot be sold or re-used can be shredded, and then sorted and graded into their separate materials such as gold, copper, aluminium, plastic, and glass for re-use and re-processing,” said Cr Tegg.

The sorted aluminium pieces can be resmelted locally. Shredded circuit boards that are rich in copper, gold and other precious metals are sold for further processing in Europe to recover these metals. 

Another Kiwi startup company Mint  Innovation has developed a novel biotechnological solution allowing them to use inexpensive chemicals and naturally sourced microbes to extract and recover precious metals such as gold, palladium, and copper from common forms of electronic waste.

“So please do the right thing when your laptop or tablet dies and can’t be repaired – ensure it is recycled and the precious materials it’s made of are recovered and re-used.   E-waste can be dropped off at the Thames “Seagull” Recycling Centre and other centres or you can order a courier box from Computer Recycling’s website and send them your e-waste”, Tegg said.

“It’s great to see funds from the landfill levy being used to transform the way we deal with e-waste in Aotearoa. A $1.5 million grant from Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund helped Computer-Recycling purchase the new equipment” Cr Tegg said.

Denis Tegg

Thames Coromandel representative on Waikato Regional Council

2 thoughts on ““There’s gold in them thar computers”

  1. Thanks Denis.Sadly there’s a proposal for a big new goldmine in my turangawaewae, Bendigo – Matakanui, across the Dunstan Range. Santana Minerals. Proposed to be bigger than McRaes. Tragic.Di


  2. Hello Denis, permanently at the end of anything that Sereena writes is More gold is recoverable from 1 tonne of electronic scrap from personal computers than from 17 tonnes of raw gold ore. 7% of the world’s gold is found in household electronics.


    Frances Burton


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