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Germany

Mining Mobile Phones For The Industrial Metals Within

Cell phones contain trace amounts of gold, silver, copper and other valuable minerals. Lawmakers in Germany are cluing into these hidden treasures, but haven't yet come up with an effective way to harvest them.

(cogdogblog)
(cogdogblog)

*NEWSBITES

Germans are hoarding nearly two tons of gold – without even realizing it. The costly metal is hidden away in some 80 million no-longer-used mobile phones, each phone containing about 25 milligrams. Add it up and that comes to around 80 million euros worth.

The hidden treasure is beginning to draw attention from both industry and government. "Mobile phones that are no longer in use are a real storehouse of primary materials," says Parliamentary State Secretary Katherina Reiche. Gold is just one of the approximately 60 different materials built into mobiles, which also contain silver and copper. Approximately 80% of those minerals could be reused. A million mobiles harbor 150 kilos of silver and several tons of copper.

Even if quantities in each individual phone are minimal, says Bernhard Rohleder, general manager of Bitko, a high tech association, it adds up and could help considerably in dealing with the problem of dwindling natural resources. Lead, nickel, bismuth, tin, antimony and iridium are also used in mobile phones. Presently some 3% of silver resources worldwide, and 4% of gold, is being used in the manufacture of mobile phones.

So far, however, Germans have shown themselves reluctant to part with their old phones: it is estimated that only 3% of mobile phones are recycled. Even if they are willing to turn over their used mobiles, Germany doesn't have the necessary systems in place to receive and collect the devices. Then there's the logistical problem of how exactly to extract the valuable metals. According to experts, it will take five to 10 years before a recycling system for rare earths can be built up in Europe.

Read the full story in German by Thomas Heuzeroth

Photo - cogdogblog

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Geopolitics

Winning African Hearts And Minds? Why Russia Has An Edge Over The West

Russia's Foreign Minister is in South Africa for the second time in a year. In spite of the West's best efforts, Vladimir Putin's delegation is still welcomed in large parts of Africa, which still harbors colonial resentment toward Europe.

Photo of Sergey Lavrov during his visit to South Africa

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor shake hands

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Sergey Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister, has not traveled much since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But he arrived yesterday on an official visit to South Africa, his second official trip there in a year.

But it is not a coincidence: Africa is a priority for Russian diplomacy.

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The West was caught off guard when, at the United Nations last year, a large part of Africa refused to condemn the Russian aggression on Ukrainian territory. They were all the more surprised because, since the 1960s, the African continent has wisely adopted a principle recognizing the borders inherited from colonization: it wanted to avoid possible inter-state targeting, which is what Russia is trying to do in Ukraine.

Moscow has been able to capitalize on this refusal of Africa to align itself with the West.

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