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Golden business opportunity hidden in consumer goods

Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of precious metals like gold and platinum are being thrown away in the UK every year when household goods such as old mobile phones and laptops are scrapped. Now the Government is launching a new plan to help UK businesses benefit from the multi-billion global market in extracting and reusing these valuable metals.

Faced with a rising global demand for consumer goods and an increasing reliance on speciality metals from abroad, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman today published the Resource Security Action Plan to make sure UK businesses are more resilient to any changes in supply and price, and can make the most of new opportunities.

China produces over 95 per cent of rare earth elements, with Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo leading production of other key materials that are used in everyday technology such as mobile phones. Eighty per cent of Chief Executives surveyed by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said that raw materials shortages were a risk to their business in 2012.

The UK is one of the first countries to bring business and civil society into the heart of plans to make sure UK growth isn’t harmed by potential supply uncertainty, while ensuring new growth opportunities are tapped into.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:

“Businesses are already feeling the heat from uncertainty in the supply of the speciality metals used in mobile phones, medical equipment and aeroplanes.

“We’re working with business to help prepare for these risks – but there is also a multi-billion pound opportunity in the massive amount of valuable metals lost because of how we deal now with products people no longer want.

“I want to see British businesses taking advantage of this golden opportunity to boost growth and jobs through how we design products, while re-using, recycling or substituting valuable metals.”

by S. C.
16 march 2012, World News > Europe