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1. WO2021061184 - SYSTEMS AND METHODS OF EFFICIENTLY RECOVERING PRECIOUS METALS USING AN ALKALINE LEACH, ULTRASOUND, AND ELECTROLYSIS

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method for extracting a desired metal from a substance, the method comprising:

contacting the substance with an alkaline leach to separate the desired metal from the substance;

providing ultrasound energy and anodic current on a work face of the substance; etching the substance with the alkaline leach, thereby releasing the desired metal from the substance; and

collecting the released desired metal.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the substance includes integrated circuit boards, printed circuit boards, capacitors, metal fragments, large irregular granules, and small irregular granules.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the metal fragments have a copper content between 70-80%.

4. The method of claim 2, wherein the large irregular granules weigh between 10-20 grams.

5. The method of claim 3, further comprising leaching the fragments for 6-15 hours wherein 50- 95% of the copper is removed from the fragments.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising isolating precious metals from the fragment after the copper has been removed.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein precious metals include gold, platinum, silver, iridium, and palladium.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising flashing off any by-products having a melting point below the desired metal.

9. The method of claim 2, wherein the small irregular granules weigh between 0.5 and 1.5 grams.

10. A method for extracting a desired metal contained in a substance, the method comprising:

contacting the substance with an alkaline leach to separate the desired metal from the substance;

etching the substance with the alkaline leach, thereby releasing the desired metal from the substance;

collecting the released desired metal; and

purifying the desired metal, thereby resulting in a concentrated form of the desired metal, wherein the desired metal includes at least one metal selected from the group consisting of gold, platinum, silver, iridium, and palladium.

11. A method of extracting precious metals from electronic scrap comprising:

placing electronic scrap into an ultrasound assisted electrolytic tank in the presence of an alkaline leach and anodic current, wherein the electronic scrap comprises:

copper;

iron; and

precious metals;

selectively dissolving the copper in the tank in the presence of an electrolyte; capturing iron with a magnet filter;

in a centrifugal concentrator, separating the precious metals from the electronic scrap in a form of precious metal concentrate; and

recovering copper in an electrowinning cell,

wherein a heat pump maintains the temperature in the tank and electrowinning cell below 50 degrees Celsius, to avoid excess evaporation of alkaline leach, and produces hot water as a byproduct.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the alkaline leach is selected from the group consisting of ammonia, cupric amine solution, ammonium hydroxide, and ammonium carbonate.

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising repurposing the hot water for sanitary and/or central heating purposes.

14. The method of claim 11, further comprising sending the precious metal concentrate to a refinery.

15. The method of claim 11, further comprising continuously withdrawing electrolyte from the tank while selectively dissolving the copper in the tank.