COURSE NAME : Introduction to Metallurgy & Materials
COURSE CODE : MME 131
TOPIC : The Rise of Urban Mining : A Tremendous Process That
Can Make The World A Better Place.
SUBMITTED TO : Professor A.K.M. Bazlur Rashid,
Department of Materials & Metallurgical Engineering,Bangladesh
University of Engineering & Technology
SUBMITTED BY : Moupia Tajrin Oyshi
ROLL : 1711048
DATE : 14/04/18
The Rise of Urban Mining : A Tremendous Process That
Can Make The World A Better Place
A Tremendous Process : Urban Mining
The process that is going to be presented here hasn't just effected the civilisation lately, rather it's
thought to be a fair medium for bringing a massive & outstanding change in the whole world
history. It's urban mining that is being talked about.
Before discussing its necessities, the definition of “Urban Mining” should be mentioned.
The process of reconstruction and reclamation of materials from urban mining, building and waste,
which may not otherwise explode on land. By changing the way we see our waste related to our
urban landscape, we are able to mine – collection and salvaging – recycled and recycled valuable
components, tied to a zero-landfill path towards the future. (1)
What We Think Is The End,Is Just The Beginning
Nowadays,the biggest problem by which our planet is burdened with is e-waste. The situation can
be explained more precisely through some criteria.
Smartphones are really common these days. Eventually, whenever our smartphones don't function
properly like working slowly , we thoroughly decide to change the old one & get a brand new
model. But the thing is , though we can easily forget all about our discarded device the moment we
find a brand new shiny replacement in our hand, the mother planet can't just digest it overnight. And
so the planet is getting burdened with these poor old things called junks or e-waste.
Then we can come up with a bigger criteria which relates to industrial garbage. To deal with the
industrial trashes , the sector that pops up in our mind at first is the ship graveyard. To be
mentioned, Bangladesh contains one of the largest ship graveyard. Hundreds of reports from
national and international journalists & private organisations depict the miserable & pathetic
condition of this area and most importantly the workers involved in it. For renewing those junk
ships, poor workers are obliged to work with the hazardous garbage or scarp materials & metals by
their almost bare hands without any proper safeties. As a result , the environment covering the ship
graveyard is being dangerous day by day .
So the two criteria stated above deal with the necessity of urban mining in ensuring a better
existence for both the mother planet and the human being itself.
Then the eco-overhawk of the council's office, the lowest carbon peterprint of any recorded
revision, is an example of so-called urban mining – the idea of reusing valuable materials instead of
sending it to landfill. (2)
The Surprising Findings Through The Surveys
At first, the result of a survey conducted under the custody of UN should be mentioned here.
According to the UN report 2017 Global E-waste Monitoring in 2016 alone, unauthorised or just
unwanted electronics has dropped 44.7 million metric tons. There are 4,500 eiffel tower-priced
phones, laptops, microbes and TVs. Only 20 percent of this e-waste could not be recycled properly
that year. The rebound could possibly be incinerated, pumping pollution in the atmosphere, or its
toxic headaches now added to a landfill now with leakage in our soil and water supply.
So the only trashing of our electronics is bad for the environment, but that is definitely not enough
to prevent the practice. But what could be enough, the news that the cancelled electronics could be a
literal gold mine.
Of course, we already knew electronics that were precious metals besides glass and plastic,
although the single smartphone is not so much that consumers buy 1.7 billion devices each year.
Just one million people, we get about 75 pounds of gold, 35,000 pounds copper, and 772 pounds of
It's all added up. But according to a press release from the American Chemical Society, depending
on what was mining, it was not economically fit.
To solve this problem, a triangle of researchers from Beijing University of Sinhahua and McKayry
University in Sydney, which is now published in Environmental Science and Technology.
First, the researchers collected information from eight recyclable companies in China. They count
all the costs associated with the mining gold and copper from the recycled television set – from the
payment of materials for the collection of e-waste materials and the buildings it needs to renew.
After they figured out that, they could sell various components into government subsidies and
funding companies company companies. Finally, researchers concluded that the total cost of this
urban mining was compared to ore mining and that ore mining was 13 times more expensive.
Of course, not every nation has the same subsidies as China, and all costs of recycling will always
be the same. But according to the United Nations report, China is the world's largest producer of e-
waste. If the companies in that country see that they can earn money through e-waste mining, it can
have a big impact on the overall problem. (3)
Maybe more Chinese companies get the urban mining business. Perhaps the companies of other
countries want to start the practice. Or maybe we might think twice what to do with our smartphone
once we get your hands on your replacement.
So we can forget panning for gold or extracting copper ore whereas urban mining, is far less
expensive than mining them the traditional way. So the most interesting and surprising finding is
that, o ld electronics can be more profitable than the Lantal Gold Mine.
The History of Mining & Its Significant Development to Urban Mining
At this point of discussion, the process – urban mining must be expained in details.
Human civilisation is familiar with the process since a very long time which is still undefined.But
we can at least get a fair idea about how or by whom the process was modified and was brought to
light with the term as urban mining.
At first , the history of mining & its influence on human civilisation should be talked about.Mining
may well have been the second of humankind’s earliest endeavors—
granted that agriculture was the first. The two industries ranked together as
the primary or basic industries of early civilization. The history of mining is fascinating. It parallels
the history of civilization,
With many important cultural eras associated with and identified by various
minerals or their derivatives: the Stone Age,the Bronze
Age,the Iron Age,the Steel Age,and the Nuclear Age.
As one of humanity’s earliest endeavors—and certainly one of its first
organized industries—mining has an ancient and venerable history (Gregory,
Conservation of mineral resources is an important issue. Society is becoming much more cognizant
of the need to conserve energy,minerals,and the environment and according to the environment,
mining Industry has approved a policy that is favorable for more mineral sector
Sustainable Methods (National Mining Association, 1998). (4)
The term urban mining was derived from Professor Nanzhou of Tohoku University of Japan in 1980
and was provoked for recycling and reusing. In a nutshell, it is the process of recovery of
components from compounds and products, buildings and waste. The transition from a linear to a
circular approach illustrates waste management techniques over the last few decades. The linear
traditional method is based on raw material, production, use, waste and landfill extraction.
Urban Mining Vs Ore Mining
As a result of global growth of economics and population, circular methods have been increasingly
increasing from the increasing demand of basic raw materials. The approach is going from the
limited and specific stocks of raw materials to the growing anthropogenic stocks. It creates a
foundation for urban mining development.
Urban mineral operations work in the context of finalized work and technology finalization towards
the replacement of second raw materials and energy from urban dwellers' products. As a result of
urban mining for long-term environmental protection, asset conservation and economic benefits, a
systemic management of Anthroponic Resource stocks (products and buildings) and losses are
An illustrative example given by Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Due to
their small eco-memory life, the amount of these waste streams is constantly increasing. Currently,
their growth may be estimated as three times faster than the average growth of the municipal waste.
Given that the gold density in electronic and electronic scraps is much higher than the amount of
gold in the gold mine, due to recovering from WEEE, potentially resulting in more environmentally
harmonious mining activity.
To control the economic stability of the urban mining system and to focus more on product quality
at production stage, the technical and economic liability increase should be transferred from the
customer to the producer. Recycling and Minimization should be encouraged and promoted in the
market related to stimulus, but adopt the most appropriate regulations and actions.
If the green technology continues pushing, creative solutions will be strengthened by challenging
the world's rare metal envi-ronmental problems. Urban mining is one of them.
As related to information technology, it is really where product lifecycle management meets the
requirements for intelligent use of resources.
Electronics folks often throw away an effective source of rare earth metals, and this electronics
covers all the cities of the world. So, people are now using urban mining as a means of collecting
electronic waste and re-claiming these rarefied electronics from rare earth metals. There are about
500 grams of tons of 4 to 6 grams of circuit board per ton of ore. (5)
Better Profibility of Urban Mining According to The Statistics
In the Urban Mining of E-Waste is Becoming More Cost Effective Than Virgin Mining report ,
researchers : Xianlai Zeng and Jinhui Li of Tsinghua University in Beijing and John A Mathews of
Macquarie University in Sydney wanted to determine whether it is an effective alternative to
recycled e-waste mining.
Researchers collected eight recycling companies in China to calculate the cost of copper and gold
opening from e-waste. The cost includes waste collection, labor, energy, components and
transportation costs, recycling equipment and capital costs for the home.
Urban mining costs have declined to $ 1.684 per kg from $ 6.697 per kg in 2010, and $ 2012 per
dollar from $ 8438 per kg in 2012, $ 1,191 per kg for gold in 2011 .
By comparison, they cost about 0.8-0.9 dollars per kg (depending on the method of cut-off) and
damaged by 1.4-1.6 dollars per kg, and $ 33,404.626 per kilogram for gold.
According to the United Nations Global E-waste Monitor report, by 2018, around 50 million tonnes
of E-waste in the world will be abandoned. There are metals worth $ 50 billion in this waste stream.
Analysing the report we can conclude that the cost is 13 times more (while obtaining these metals
from ore) than from urban mining. As such, the researchers find implications for the economic
prospects of urban mining as a circular economy alternative to virgin mining of ores .
"Our results are confined to the cases of copper and gold extracted and processed from e-waste
streams made up of recycled TV sets, but these results indicate a trend and potential if applied
across a broader range of e-waste sources and metals extracted," the report reads.
"If these results can be extended to other metals and countries, they promise to have positive impact
on waste disposal and mining activities globally, as the circular economy comes to displace linear
economic pathways." (6)
Impact of Under Mining in South Korea
The report titled as ” Urban mining in South Korea pulls rare battery materials from recycled tech ”
refers to the industrial evolution happened in South Korea by the blessings brought by urban
Workers in the rural South Korean factory are busy using most of the world's electricity, which use
But they do not dig in the ground or have a clean arc. Instead, they are sorted out of old mobile
phones and laptops with a pill of lithium-ion batteries. Increasing the price of China's aggressive
Hunt for foreign cobalt and lithium and growing as a reason for South Korea's growing "urban
mining" for the global shortage of metals, rising for the recovery of cobalt, lithium and other
overwhelming metal from electronic waste.
Sungel HiTech is South Korea's largest battery recycler. A decade ago, the company was on a
crossroads like the Plessamo TV panel, from which it started to lift gold and silver.
Now it is part of a supply chain for some of the world's big battery manufacturers including
Samsung SDI (006400.sk) and LG Chem (051910.sk).
Ying Kong-Mung, president of SueLe Heutec, said that this year, the lack of mining metals has led
to his company tripling power. It's planned to be listed in 2020.
SungEl Hi-Tech, located in the southwestern city of Guanan, can process approximately 8,000
tonnes of tragedy lithium-ion batteries and metal scrap each year.
From that, it can produce 830 tons of lithium phosphate, equivalent to 1000 tons of cobalt metal and
600 tons of nickel.
According to Sujela and Posco, POSCO (005490.AS) uses lithium phosphate to produce lithium
carbonate for LG and Samsung's rechargeable battery manufacturers.
The battery recycler plans to increase its processing capacity to 24,000 tonnes by 2019 and expand
further in 2021, including growing its overseas operations, Yi said.
T he company, however, is smaller than foreign competitors such as China’s Jiangxi Ganfeng
Lithium ( 002460.SZ ) and GEM Co ( 002340.SZ ), and Belgium’s Umicore SA ( UMI.BR ).
In the last three years, the amount of imported metal imported for South Korean Lithium-Ion
batteries has increased, according to data from the State Institute of Korea of Geoscience and
Mineral Resources. In 2010, South Korea imported 3.5 million tons of nickel, which increased by 2
percent from 2013. Cobalt import increased 3.4 percent to 13,972 tons a year ago.
CBDO stands at $ 87,615 tonnes in March on the increase of Cobalt prices four times since January
This has led to more long-term supply contracts and investment in developing mining, and
recycling efforts. Samsung SDI could start its own reusable business, a company spokesman said.
Park Jai-koo, an urban mining expert at Hanyang University in Seoul, said electronic waste
recycling can help mitigate high prices and limit reliance on outside sources for rare metals.
” South Korea needs to secure resources but mostly all of them are imported,” Park said. “Urban
mining is more likely to become a way to go.”
That was all about the jumping demand of urban mining. Then the difference making perspective
must be depicted here.
According to the Korea Arma Mining Association, 150 small and medium-sized companies work in
At SungEl HiTech, the process is not complicated or extremely automated. Workers cut the pieces
of the batteries from the recycled device, the units were discharged from the electricity, and then the
soil was split into a powder from which separate metal can be separated.
Most of the products that recycled – 60 to 70 percent – comes from the United States and Europe,
with the rest from South Korea.
Recycling companies mainly focus on precious metal extraction like gold and silver. But four,
including Sungel HiTech, can recover direct cobalt or find antibodies from the adverse substance.
Yum Un-joo, chairman of the Korea Urban Mining Association, said recycled resources, if
developed correctly, could be a difference maker for the industry and for his country. ” For South
Korea, we don’t have an option but if we have recycled resources, that could be our strength,” Yum
Obstacles To Establish Urban Mining
How much this El(ectronic)-Dorado might be worth, we can't yet tell. Getting robust data on the
amount of precious metal used to manufacture electronics was the first challenge, says Ruediger
Kuehr – a political scientist who thought about the issues involved in technology transfer and
environmental policy over a decade ago, and who – as a result – co-founded the “Solving the E-
Waste Problem” (StEP) initiative , a partnership between the United Nations and academic and
business organisations. This will not work as an effective policy solution for e-waste only,
especially in the developing world, where the commands – at least not demanding public money –
are unrealistic. To be self-sufficient and environmentally safe, e-waste recycling can be profitable;
Where it can not be profitable, it was necessary to subsidise it. Some of these educators and
government officials can not think in a commercial vacuum, let alone run.(8)
Urban Mining: A Difference Making Process for The Mother Planet
In conclusion to the whole discussion , Urban mining deals with not only Materials & Metallurgical
Engineering, but also with Environmental Science,Economics,Electronic & Electrical Engineering
and what not. Now the wind of change is blowing on & urban mining can lead us into the next age
of green technology and scrutinise the effect that humanity is having in this pale Blue Dot.This was
all about ” Urban Mining '' ; its tremendous impacts that have not just brought a positive change in
human civilisation rather it's going to bring about a bigger affirmative change in the whole planet in
the days to come.''What we think is the end,is just the beginning '' might be our slogan and thus we
would be able to discover a world without any waste through the rise of urban mining.