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Monday, 8th September 2008
In General Japan News,

Japan's landfills are 'gold mines'

Japan's landfill rubbish dumps have now grown to such a size that they constitute one of the largest natural resource nations in the world.

Millions of discarded TV sets, mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices have turned the "urban mines" located outside Japan's cities into a rich source of precious metals, reports the Times.

Calculations by the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba has found that Japan unwittingly has around three times as much gold, silver and indium than the whole world uses in a year.

Only about 13 per cent (roughly 550 tonnes) of the 20 million phones discarded each year in Japan are recycled.

The circuit board of each phone contains minute quantities of silver, lead, zinc, copper, tin, palladium, titanium and gold.

Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry is now urging for nationwide collections of unwanted electronics and possible excavations of landfill.