Reuters reports on "urban mining," a fancy way of describing folks who drop old cell phones in chemicals by the ton, melt away everything plastic, and then harvest the gold, silver, and copper that remains.
Eco-System, established 20 years ago near Tokyo, typically produces about 200-300 kg (440-660 lb) of gold bars a month with a 99.99 percent purity, worth about $5.9 million to $8.8 million.
That's about the same output as a small gold mine.
Eco-System also recovers metals from old memory chips, cables and even black ink which contain silver and palladium.
Urban miners look for precious metals in cell phones [Yahoo/Reuters]