To achieve a sustainable economy, it is necessary to develop innovative green chemistries towards the end-of-life recovery of used products and reuse of recovered materials.
For example, Printed circuit boards (PCBs), the integral part of any electronic products, accounts for a great percentage of the total weight among those typical components dismantled from the e-waste. On one hand, waste PCBs contain heavy metal elements, organic matters (such as resin and brominated flame retardants) and chemical residuals that may cause a serious threat to the environment as well as human health. On the other hand, waste PCBs have great residual value due to the presence of high-grade precious metals (~28% weight) such as Gold (AU), Silver (Ag), Copper (Cu), Palladium (Pd), Tantalum (Ta )and Rare Earth Elements. In addition, the metallic grade in PCBs is more than a hundred times of that in natural mineral resources.
Therefore, recycling waste PCBs plays a critical role in both environmental protection and economic development.
The Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are comprised of the lanthanide elements plus scandium and yttrium, which have similar physical properties and are often found in the same ores and deposits. While most of these elements are not actually rare in terms of general amount of these elements in the earth's crust, they are rarely found in sufficient abundance in a single location for their mining to be economically viable and pose challenges in processing and refining. REEs have many important applications in modern technology for which there is no equal substitute and an increasing demand for these elements is straining supply.
- In 2019, China was responsible for 80% of rare earths imports- Canada and the USA have targeted rare earths among domestic supply chain priorities as they outline ambitious climate and technology policy.
Tailings are residues created as part of mining, refining, smelting and water treatment processes. These processes are never 100% efficient and W2M has figured out ways to turn tailings to profits with novel reprocessing technologies to extract valuable metals.
We believe that we can play a vital role in a fully integrated domestic battery supply chain by providing key battery metals to produce precursor materials (cathodes) for lithium-ion batteries which represent over one-third of the battery's total cost.
W2M is part of the solution in securing the North American domestic supply chain of Energy and Rare metals.