n. A person or company that extracts metals from discarded electronics.
Business owner Jerry Shelfer and his wife, Michelle, started Hi-Tec Recycling in 2003, gathering up discarded computers, monitors and other electronic gear before they enter landfills. … Calling himself an "urban miner," Shelfer says everything from the memory chips in computers to the copper wiring in cables has some value.
Electronics are filled with hazardous materials, like mercury, lead, cadmium, palladium, platinum, arsenic and other metals," he said. "If we keep this stuff above ground and handle it right and we can commoditize it. We've become the new urban miners of the world.
Saburo Masaoka is an urban miner for the new millennium, panning for gold in the ditches of the information superhighway….Every cell phone contains a minute quantity of gold, which is used to fix silicon chips to the phone's computer circuit board. It's such a small amount that it takes 70,000 phones to yield a one-kilogram (2.2 pound) bar of gold, which sells for about $ 10,000.
Alvarez struck up a conversation with some of these "urban miners." He complimented them on the orderliness and what he called the "rationality" of the system. "Yes. And there seems to be considerably less waste," Morris added.