How to Extract Gold from Computer Parts & Electronics

Are you’re looking at opening a small yet profitable business that would start paying rich returns almost immediately? If yes, then I would suggest you try a business to extract gold from electronics and computer parts. As you would surely know, gold is a precious metal whose prices usually rise over a period of time.

Example demonstration video

Actually, recovering gold from computer parts isn’t a simple, home-based business. Nor should you even attempt doing so at home because it involves chemical processes. But if you can open a small workshop, it’s possible to extract gold from various computer parts and start making money.

Computer Parts with Gold

There’re quite a few computer parts that contain gold. I’ll list them for you. However, since these are different parts, you’ll also required different processes to recover gold.

Computer parts that contain gold include


Motherboard processors

Hard drives



CD & DVD drives

Additionally, computer parts also contain silver – which is another precious metal and of course, copper, which is commonly used for connectors and wiring.

As I mention earlier, since different parts of computers require different ways to recover gold, let’s see some of the processes you can use.

Extract Gold from Electronics & Computer Parts

Most of these processes are complex. Hence, you’ll need proper training to extract gold from computer parts. And of course, you’ll require a license too because it involves buying various chemicals that aren’t available off the shelves.

Gold Cyanidation

The most common way of recovering gold from computer parts is known as Gold Cyanidation. It’s also known as the CN process or the MacArthur-Forrest process. And since it involves the use of cyanide, a highly toxic chemical, the process can be done only at labs or workshops that have necessary permits and clearances from the government.

To extract gold with the CN process, you’ll first have to separate the metal items in a CPU, Motherboard and other computer parts that contain gold. Later, these scrap pieces have to be washed with a moderate strength acid solution to remove plastic, rubber, epoxy and composite.

When you have the metal part clean and exposed, follow the CN process at your workshop or lab. The gold comes in the form of an assay containing Potassium Cyanide. This assay has to be further purified using a mix of Nitric Acid, Hydrochloric Acid in the right proportions, to create a solution known as Aqua Regia.

Gold dissolves easily in Aqua Regia while the Potassium Cyanate assay separates swiftly. The process is a bit risky because it involves highly concentrated acids and cyanide fumes- both of which are potentially harmful to health, if you don’t take proper precautions.

Aqua Regia Process

It’s also possible to directly extract gold using the Aqua Regia process, provided you’re ready to settle for a little lesser quantity. The CN process allows you to recover up to 98 percent of the gold from computer parts.

In stark contrast, the Aqua Regia process enables you to recover  percent and 99.99 percent of the gold only. The acid mixture reacts quickly with gold and causes a small drop in its volume.

Clean the computer parts with golds, remove all outer covering and drop the pieces into a glass trough containing Aqua Regia.

These parts and the metal alloys with gold dissolves in the mixture. Upon neutralizing Aqua Regia, you’ll find the gold residue along with those of other metals. The gold residue can be purified to extract 99.9 percent 24-Carat gold.

Ordinary Burning

This isn’t exactly the way to recover gold. However, you can sell the char for a lot of money since it contains gold.

Remove all parts of a computer that contain gold and burn them in a large metal barrel. You’ll be able to recover only the charred pieces or chars from the ashes since they’re made of metal.

Usually, professional gold extractors will weigh the char volume, estimate the amount of gold and pay for completing half the process. However, they’ll buy the char only if it’s clean and free of residues of any other material. Hence, you may have to burn the pieces several times to get pure char.

Recovering Gold from Mobile Phones

The above processes are also useful to extract gold from mobile phones and other discarded electronics including remote controlled toys. 

License to Extract Gold

Here it’s important to bear in mind that recovering gold from computer parts and mobile phones can be done only by qualified metallurgists and other professionals. This isn’t a business for the unqualified.

Before you enter the business, make sure you have proper licenses for operating a gold recovery business and possession of hazardous chemicals.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there’s a lot of money in extracting gold from computer parts and electronics. However, this business is for qualified and experienced people only.

a white sediment instead of the expected brown precipitate when attempting to extract gold from computer parts, there could be a few potential reasons:

1. Incomplete dissolution of gold

The acids used (like aqua regia) may not have fully dissolved and brought all the gold into solution before precipitation. Ensuring complete dissolution is key.

2. Wrong precipitant 

You may be using an incorrect or ineffective chemical precipitant to make the gold drop out of solution. Sodium metabisulfite or ferrous sulfate are common for selectively precipitating gold.

3. Other metals precipitating

The white sediment could be compounds of other metals like aluminum, copper, nickel etc. present in the e-waste that are also being dissolved and precipitated along with any gold.

4. Side reactions

Presence of other substances or the precipitation conditions (pH, temperature etc.) could be causing side reactions that lead to different colored precipitates.

To improve your gold recovery:

- Ensure complete dissolution of gold by allowing sufficient acid leaching time/concentration.

- Use the correct, high-purity precipitant chemicals like SMB in the right quantities.

- Try adjusting the pH by adding acid/base to favor selective gold precipitation.

- Allow time for the brown gold precipitate to properly settle out.

- Carefully filter/decant to separate the gold-rich solids.

However, I must reiterate that these processes involve very hazardous chemicals and improper handling can cause serious harm. If inexperienced, it is advisable to seek proper training or use an industrial e-waste recycling facility instead of attempting at home. Safety should be the top priority. Let me know if you need any other suggestions.


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