Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The digital junkyard: 'Urban mining'

Posted By on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 9:36 AM

click to enlarge blueoak.png
We'd mentioned earlier that the state would participate (including $14 million in teacher retirement venture capital) in the announcement today of a new venture in Osceola, BlueOak Resources, that will recycle materials from junked electronics such as computers.

I didn't know until today this $35 million venture would be the first U.S. "urban mining refinery." The plant will retrieve gold, silver, copper and palladium from e-waste. A Sol Allman for the 21st century, you might say.

Executive chairman of this company is John Correnti, a steelmaker who started the Nucor steel mill in Mississippi County and recently won tens of millions in state backing to start a competitor steel mill there. The AEDC release notes the parallels:

BlueOak’s refining business model is inspired by the quintessential case study of the mini-mill disruption of the steel industry, which ushered in a new era of steel production. The distributed nature of mini-mills allowed lowest cost production of steel from recycled steel scrap. BlueOak intends to capitalize on the high demand for “technology metals” like gold, silver, copper and palladium by creating distributed urban refineries in the U.S. and throughout the world that recover high-value metals from e-waste. Production at the Arkansas facility will begin by the end of 2015, initially processing 15 million lbs. of electronic scrap per year, with plans for rapid expansion, bringing 50 high-paying technical jobs to the area.

The project is relying on New Markets Tax Credit financing.

The state touted the environmental benefits, a reason that former Vice President Al Gore will join the announcement today. (He's also an investor.)

Dumping e-waste in landfills and worse, exporting it to countries where e-waste is handpicked over open fires, represents not only an environmental disaster, but also the loss of millions of tons of valuable resources. Circuit boards, cell phones and other electronics are made with sizable amounts of gold, silver, copper and palladium – high-value metals that are currently lost to landfills. And, while Europe has established a thriving supply chain around this challenge, BlueOak is the U.S.’s only urban refinery dedicated to recovering precious metals from e-waste.

Tags: , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • War. What is it good for? Tom Cotton has an idea

    Twenty-four hours after meddling in President Obama's talks with Iran, hawkish Sen. Tom Cotton scheduled an off-the-record meeting with defense contractors, who'd be happy to supply goods for U.S. armed incursions in the Middle East.
    • Mar 9, 2015
  • Huckabee becomes pitch man for 'diabetes solution'

    Mike Huckabee has become a paid radio pitch man for a purported "solution" to diabetes. The product has had its critics.
    • Feb 2, 2015
  • How the nursing home lobby plans to sidestep tort reform blockade

    Why, you ask, does the nursing home lobby hold an open house for lunch and cocktails in a Capitol Hill apartment most days the legislature is in session? Aren't they already well taken care of with profitable reimbursement rates, rhanks to the bed tax, and haven't they stocked the judiciary with judges elected with their campaign contributions?
    • Feb 11, 2015

Most Shared

  • George H.W. Bush will vote for Hillary. Or will he?

    Politico reports that Kathleen Harrington Kennedy Townsend says former Republican President George H.W. Bush is voting for Hillary Clinton for president. The article quotes a Bush spokesman as declining to confirm or deny.
  • Who's harming women?

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is an Arkansas Republican. Thus, like the governor and the Republican-majority legislature, she intends to do everything she can to deny women comprehensive medical care, particularly abortion.
  • New normal

    No two presidential candidates since polling began have run up negatives as massive as those of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who yet won their parties' nominations easily. "What gives?" may be the biggest political mystery in history.
  • Additional rape charges filed against Conway doctor

    Special Prosecutor Jason Barrett has added 11 more victims to two others alleging rape by Dr. Robert Rook of Conway.
  • Big Dam Bridge 100 brings big damn complaint about celebrity rider Hincapie

    The Big Dam Bridge 100 is this weekend and one dedicated biker isn't happy about a celebrity rider, admitted doper George Hincapie.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation