To recycle gold from computer motherboards and PCI or circuit boards, it is necessary to remove the gold components, such as gold-plated connectors, pins and traces. After removing all gold components from the computer boards, recyclers must separate the gold from its metal or plastic housing in order to process the gold. Computer gold processing methods include chemical stripping, using a compound that reacts with gold and melting down the metal components to grind them up.
After cooling and grinding up the melted metal components and gold recycled from computer boards, the gold is ready for further purification. A smelting process and extraction process further remove any impurities from the recycled gold. Recyclers then sort the gold by karat and melt it in a crucible at about 1,947 degrees Fahrenheit. Computer circuit boards have gold traces in densities similar to mined ore.
Municipalities and commercial collectors recycle gold from computer motherboards and circuit boards. The most valuable computer components to mine are the motherboard, PCI boards, RAM and processor. The microscopic transistors of the PC’s processor hold hundreds of gold-plated pins. Most circuit boards also have small amounts of metals such as palladium and silver, in addition to recyclable gold.