Thailand Develops Technologies to Extract Rare-Earth Metals From Waste

October 2020

Thailand’s Ministry of Industry announced plans to develop a new technology that enables the extraction of rare-earth metals from recycled industrial and household waste to serve high-tech industries. The Department of Primary Industries and Mines (DPIM) has already succeeded in creating solutions to recycle neodymium from electronic waste. Neodymium is a key component in high-power magnets needed for electronic equipment and the engines of electric vehicles.

DPIM also plans to extract nano copper oxide from electronic waste, such as copper from plants that produce electricity transmission cables. Nano copper oxide is a key material for coating medical equipment to make it bacteria resistant. The department will also conduct research and development on special-grade titanium alloys used in robotic technology. Around 55 prototypes recycling technologies have been developed by the DPIM so far. Every year, these prototypes are then transferred to around 300 companies.

Thailand generates 500,000 tons of electronic waste per year, of which 80,000 tons come from industrial factories. These 500,000 tons of electronic waste contain recyclable metal worth an estimated THB 30 billion (USD 960 million).

(Sources: Xinhua News Agency; The Nation)

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