Entries with tag precious metals.

Hackers Increasingly Target Mining Firms

A new survey by the Ernst & Young professional services firm found that metals and mining companies are increasingly vulnerable to hacking. The study said the threats come from many sources including criminals trying to gain financially from supply disruptions through commodity pricing changes, rivals seeking business secrets, governments and state-owned firms looking to gain an advantage in contract negotiations, and antimining activists. More than 40 percent of surveyed metals and mining companies stated that they had seen increased external threats in the past 12 months. Most vulnerable were small or mid-size firms, which don’t consider themselves to be hacking targets. (Reuters)(The Australian) 

E-Waste: A Global Goldmine and Health Hazard

The worldwide explosion in electronic device adoption has created an equally incendiary waste problem, according to the United Nations University and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative. Manufacturing of various electronic devices uses about $21 billion worth of gold and silver annually; however, the UN says less than 15 percent of these precious metals are recovered. Discarding such volumes of e-waste has the potential to create health and environmental hazards. Other valuable metals -- copper, tin, cobalt, and palladium – could also be recovered. Plastics in e-waste is also problematic. The UN estimates if only half of the plastics in e-waste generated by the European Union alone were recycled, approximately 5 million kilowatt-hours of energy could be saved and CO2 emissions would be slashed by 2 million tons. “We need to recover rare elements to continue manufacturing IT products,” said Dr. Ruediger Kuehr, Executive Secretary of the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative and head of the United Nations University StEP coordinating unit based in Bonn, Germany. “One day — likely sooner than later — people will look back on such costly inefficiencies and wonder how we could be so short- sighted and wasteful of natural resources.” These organizations recently hosted the GeSI and StEP E-Waste Academy, training for policymakers and small businesses held in Accra, Ghana. (Science Daily)(United Nations University)(United Nations University – Press Release)

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