Do you want to know exactly what is actually inside a smartphone, a team of scientists wanted this answer so they threw a top end device in a blender and the results could shock some people.
After blending a device (believed to be an iPhone) the results showed it contained 33g of iron, 13g of silicon and 7g of chromium. It also contained ‘critical elements’ including tungsten, cobalt and molybdenum.
Scientists say this means that to create one phone, workers would need to mine 10-15kg of ore, including 7kg of high-grade gold ore, 1kg of typical copper ore, 750g of typical tungsten ore and 200g of typical nickel ore.
The high quantities of rare or ‘conflict’ elements such as 90mg of silver and 36mg of gold in each phone, should encourage people to recycle devices, they claimed, after they found that these elements need to be mined by extracting high value ores, which is putting a ‘significant strain on the planet’.
Rare substances including neodymium and praseodymium, gold, silver and tin are used, but also tungsten and cobalt which are mined from conflict-affected zones.
This type of mining and illegal trade are often controlled by armed groups, which helps to feed a vicious circle of conflicts and child labour the scientists said.
Every year, 1.4 billion mobile phones are produced around the world, the scientists, from the University of Plymouth, said.
Dr Arjan Dijkstra, lecturer in igneous petrology, said: ‘We rely increasingly on our mobile phones but how many of us actually think what is behind the screen?
‘When you look, the answer is often tungsten and cobalt from conflict zones in Africa.
‘There are also rare elements such as neodymium, praseodymium, gadolinium and dysprosium, not to mention quantities of gold, silver and other high value elements.
Dr Colin Wilkins, a lecturer in economic geology, said that mining can be part of the solution to the world’s problems because we are now part of socially conscious world.
‘But we are now in a climate where people are becoming more socially responsible and interested in the contents of what they are purchasing,’ he said.