Mining for rare and precious metal is a messy process. It is not only hugely expensive, but has a huge environmental cost, resulting in the contamination of land and water and a loss of biodiversity.
But these metals are key components in modern technology, and as our desire for electronics and electrical equipment soars, our throwaway culture is seeing more and more of these valuable, finite resources being lost to landfill. It is estimated that only 13 percent of electronic and electrical waste that is generated each year worldwide is currently recycled.
Russell Beard travels to Belgium, to meet a network of recycling organisations dedicated to recovering these precious metals, in a process known as urban mining.
earthrise can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Monday: 2230; Tuesday: 0930; Wednesday: 0330; Thursday: 1630.
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Source: Al Jazeera