As Green Technology Solutions Inc. and electronic-waste export partner Chilerecicla begin extracting rare earths and other materials from waste, a new technology in the Far East could open up new revenue streams.
Researchers in China have discovered a way to recycle rare earth elements from wastewater. Rare earth elements are essential for high-tech applications like cell phones and green technologies. Reports have shown Chinese researchers are closer to understanding how effective a nanomaterial called nano-magnesium hydroxide, which can remove metals and dyes from wastewater, would be in removing diluted rare earth elements as well.
With this new technology, supplies of metals like terbium, used in magnets and superconductors, and dysprosium, could last another 30 years. Attempts to recycle them so far have not been cost effective, with a major challenge being that the elements are usually very diluted in wastewater.
“We are doing our due diligence by following late stage R&D findings of these emerging markets and preparing to commercialize economically scalable results,” GTSO CEO Paul Watson said. “This technology from China is particularly intriguing because extracting rare earths from wastewater is a game changer that can bring considerable economic benefits.”
With the urban mining market projected to approach $24 billion by 2018, GTSO plans to develop best practices for recycling precious and rare minerals from e-waste with partners like Chilerecicla as well as development plans for U.S. operations through Green Urban Mining.
Urban mining is pivotal to GTSO’s vision to compete alongside major international corporations striving for sustainable waste solutions, such as Covanta Holding Corporation (NYSE: CVA), 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.