Recovery of gallium from smartphones - Part I: Thermal and mechanical pretreatment
The aim of this study was the investigation of possibilities to produce a gallium-rich intermediate product from discarded smartphones. For this purpose, pyrolysis followed by mechanical treatment including ball milling and sieving were performed. It was found that the applied procedure is suitable to enrich Ga, Au, Nd and Dy in a fine fraction, whereas the majority of Cu, Fe, Ni and Sn is collected in the coarse fraction. During a subsequent metallurgical assessment, a metallurgical processing route was developed with respect to selective winning of Ga as well as the recovery of rare earth elements, Cu and precious metals.