Degussa, a specialist in trading physical investment gold and other precious metals, calculates that mobile phones that exist in Spain can contain a gold value of around 100 million euros.
The data has been obtained based on the fact that, according to Statista, there are some 55 million mobile lines. If we take into account that, in general, each line corresponds to a device (it is true that there is the possibility of having one line in two devices or several lines in one device, but it is not the usual thing) and that the amount of gold contained in each one is about 0.036 grams, all mobile phones in the country would contain 1,980 kilos of gold, which multiplied by the around 50,000 euros that a kilo of the precious metal is worth (its price varies since it is listed almost 24 hours from Monday to Friday) gives as a result 99 million euros. Which means that the gold value of each device would be approximately 1.8 euros.
100 million euros: the gold value of all mobile phones in Spain.
If we carry out this operation worldwide, the figure we obtain is quite considerable, about 12.6 billion eurosSince, according to a UN agency, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), there are around 7,000 million mobile phones, which carry 252,000 kilos of gold. Research carried out by the United Nations University and the Global Electronic Sustainability Initiative almost a decade ago concluded that From a ton of mobile phones, about 300 grams of this precious metal could be obtained, “A considerable figure”, in the opinion of Tomás Epeldegui, director of Degussa in Spain, which points out that “mining only achieves an average of five grams for every thousand kilos of material extracted.”
On the other hand, the latest Global Electronic Waste Monitor prepared by the ITU, of 2020, details that in 2019 gold, silver, copper, platinum and other recoverable materials were discarded with an estimated value of about 50.8 billion euros.
Around 90% of recycled gold comes from jewelry and the remaining 10% from electronic waste
“As tons of mobile phones and other devices are discarded every year, ‘electronic mining’ has become an important source of obtaining gold, taking into account that a third of the world’s demand for this precious metal is covered by recycling ”, Says Epeldegui. Specifically, according to World Gold Council dataAround 90% of the recycled precious metal comes from jewelry and the remaining 10% from electronic waste. “This is the reason why an important part of the activity of companies like Degussa is the repurchase of gold pieces, which are recycled and transformed into bullion and coins,” he adds.
The director of this company in Spain also warns that it is very important that those who want to sell gold objects go “to reputable companies in order to obtain a fair price for them.”