Metals in Spent Mobile Phones (SMP) – a new challenge for mineral resources management

Journal title

Gospodarka Surowcami Mineralnymi - Mineral Resources Management




No 4

Publication authors

Divisions of PAS

Nauki Techniczne


<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The world sales of mobile phones is growing very dynamically (in 2015 reaching a level of approx. 1.92 billion units). The number of worldwide mobile phones in use is also rapidly increasing (it is estimated that their amount is approx. 7 billion units). The life cycle of a mobile phone is short (commonly approx. 18 months), which is mainly associated with the changing trends, technical progress and competition. This is the reason why a growing number of spent mobile phones (SMP) is stored in homes - the number of SM P worldwide is estimated at approx. 14 billion units. In Poland, estimated number of SMP stored in homes is approx. 100 million units (including approx. 30 million spent smartphones). Mobile phones contain various quantities of valuable metals such as: Cu, Ni, Ag, Au, PMG, Co, Li, Pb, Sn, Zn, REE , Ga, In, Fe, Cr, Nb, Ta, Ti. The concentration of such metals in mobile phones often times exceeds the concentration of these elements in primary deposits.</jats:p><jats:p>It is estimated that SM Ps stored in Polish homes contain approx. 1,344 Mg Cu, 27 Mg Ag, 2.6 Mg Au, 1 Mg Pd, 4.3 Mg Nd, 0.8 Mg Pr, and 454 Mg Co. Worldwide, SMPs contain at least 196,000 Mg Cu, 70,000 Mg Co, 4,000 Mg Ag, 400 Mg Au, 140 Mg Pd, 630 Mg Nd, 126 Mg Pr. This creates new challenges for mineral resources management, especially regarding introduction of new effective directions of utilization of metals recovered from SMPs. The recovery of metals from SMPs will in fact decrease the extraction of minerals from primary deposits, which will have a positive impact on the environment, and reduce the stream of existing e-wastes. The collection of SMPs in Poland is currently at a very low level, probably not exceeding 1%. It is therefore necessary to introduce new efficient SM P collection systems combined, for example, with the obligation to transfer the spent telephone to the operator while obtaining a new one. The authors suggest the need to begin research on the development of efficient technologies of metal recovery from spent mobile phones.</jats:p>


Komitet Zrównoważonej Gospodarki Surowcami Mineralnymi PAN ; Instytut Gospodarki Surowcami Mineralnymi i Energią PAN




ISSN 0860-0953