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Victorian Startup Mining the Modern Motherlode: Precious Metals from Old Electronics

Victorian Startup Mining the Modern Motherlode: Precious Metals from Old Electronics
Victorian Startup Mining the Modern Motherlode: Precious Metals from Old Electronics

Most people view old phones and gadgets as trash, but one Victorian company sees treasure. Scipher Technologies is proving there’s plenty of life left in aged electronics through their “urban mining” operation in Dandenong.

Rather than ending up in a landfill, Scipher breathes new life into devices through an advanced process of extracting precious metals like gold, palladium and silver.

According to CEO Chris Sayers, a single phone contains over 50 elements – rendering even outdated models incredibly valuable. Their methods allow sustainably sourcing metals at far lower environmental and financial costs than traditional mining.

Scipher focuses on “orphaned assets” like circuit boards, fans and cables discarded during upgrades. Modern manufacturing uses less gold and other materials over time, making older items particularly rich. Through sophisticated refinement, Scipher effectively redistributes these resources back into our economy.

With Australians generating 140,000+ tons of e-waste annually and less than 1% of TVs recycled, much valuable material goes to waste. Scipher shows there’s another way. Their mobile service collects items, while councils host drop-off points. “Everyone has old tech in a drawer,” Sayers explains. “Don’t throw them out – we’ll turn them into modern motherlodes.”

By bringing innovative solutions and raising awareness, Scipher is building a brighter future from products of the past. Their entrepreneurial efforts promote the circular economy and ensure our legacy does not end in landfills.