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Precious Metal Recovery - Gold, Silver, Platinum

I have been interested in this kind of recovery and have done a bit myself. There are a lot of bits and pieces of information on the internet about this subject and I am going to try to bring it all together here. As a side note:

The chemicals used for recovering Precious metals are very dangerous and these types of activities should not be attempted by children.
Sources Of Precious Metal Scrap: Circuit card edge connectors Gold plated connectors jewellery and cutlery switch and relay contacts Integrated circuits Catalytic Converters

Refining Gold, Silver, Platinum There are several methods Ive found to separate precious metals from other metals.

To dissolve Copper from gold plated printed circuits or plated Brass pins / connectors.
CAUTION: Remember the golden rule, acid to water, not water to acid to prevent splash injury.

If plated heavy I use a homemade nitric acid--- sodium nitrate (Na(NO3)2) and battery acid (H2SO4) 1:1 ratio, I use store bought H2SO4 as it contains no lead like that recovered from car batteries, this gives HNO3 + Na SO4 +h2O Straight Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) also works at dissolving Copper but much slower. Also Ive read you can use Hydrochloric Acid mixed 1:1 with Hydrogen Peroxide. This is a chemical used by some hobbyists to etch printed circuit boards but the reaction when the 2 chemicals are mixed causes a lot of heat so plastic containers CANNOT be used, Glass or crock-pot is best. Ferric Chloride (Hydrochloric Acid mixed with Rust) and Ammonia will also dissolve copper as these are also used for etching circuit boards. If scrap gold is mixed with other metals separate as much as possible by cutting open parts to expose base metals, Cut the Goldplated edge connectors off Circuit cards. Small pieces work best The next step should be performed outside on hot plate or in a crock-pot (not a metal or plastic container). Put acid then gold then sodium nitrate (can also use ammonium nitrate fertilizer or potassium nitrate sold as stump remover) Boil this CAUTION: stay clear of fumes and if possible a fume hood is advisable. Not inside. Also very corrosive to metals. This will make a nitric acid that will dissolve copper and other metals leaving gold in a salt metal blue / green solution of copper sulfate and gold flakes,

Add water till all salt in liquid, and let the gold flakes settle. Take a syringe and remove remaining liquid, save for copper electrolysis or add lesser active metal like Zink or aluminium to remove copper and then baking soda or caustic soda to neutralize the acid. Copper can also be precipitated out of solution using Sodium Hydroxide (caustic Soda). If there was Silver in the metal, NaCL or table salt will make it precipitate out as white cottage cheese powder, you can take these oxides and add a little bit of borax soap as flux and melt back to metal with a gas torch.

For More Complex Gold Plated items like computer processors.

I found out that the casings of old computer chips are made with an aluminium based compound which I assume is for heat exchange reasons. I put some in the solution containing copper and it precipitated the copper straight out and the copper settled to the bottom.
These types of chips require Aqua Regis to strip the gold. If there was Silver in the metal, NaCL or table salt will make it precipitate out as white cottage cheese powder, you can take these oxides and add a little bit of borax soap as flux and melt back to metal with a gas torch. Use Home made Aqua Regis to dissolve gold by using ..
Theres a lot more Good Info to be had at WWW.BEGGSY.WEBS.COM Come on over and browse the site If you find any errors in mt chemistry (it was a while ago ) Please comment thank you.. My Other sites: http://lifeisanadventure-beggsy.blogspot.com/