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Environmentally Friendly Process to Extract Neodymium and Samarium from Recycled Electronics

In its quest to deliver promising new recycling innovations to the fast-growing urban mining industry, Green Technology Solutions, Inc. is exploring ways to leverage a new innovation that could soon solve the looming global shortage in raw material supplies.

Researchers from the University of Leuven, Belgium, have developed a process to separate neodymium and samarium from transition metals such as iron, manganese and cobalt using ionic liquids. These are the critical elements used in the construction of permanent rare-earth magnets, which are found in indispensable electronics from hard drives to air conditioners and even wind turbines.

“The usefulness of neodymium and samarium in the microelectronics industry is outweighed only by their scarcity,” said GTSO CEO Paul Watson. “In a U.S. government register, these were the only two elements to feature in the highest supply risk category, and the European Commission has placed them on a list of critical raw materials.

“The development of a cost-effective, environmentally friendly process to extract them from recycled electronics could mean billions in profits for companies in the waste reclamation industry, and even more when you include plastics,” he said.

GTSO views e-waste recycling as key to supplying future needs, turning waste bins into the mines of the future. The company is investing time and money in Latin American e-waste supplies and infrastructure today so that we’ll be able to capture a major share of the massive U.S. marketplace tomorrow.

Urban mining is key to GTSO’s plans to compete alongside major international corporations striving for sustainable waste solutions, such as Industrial Services of America (NASDAQ: IDSA) and Sims Metal Management Ltd. (NYSE: SMS). Late last year, GTSO acquired the company Global Cell Buyers and soon after rebranded the company as Green Urban Mining to handle its domestic recycling and resale operations.


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