Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The treatment of end-of-Life products is one of the key steps for progression towards a circular economy. In this context, mobile phone recycling has attracted considerable attention in recent years due to the high metal concentrations in printed circuit assemblies (PCAs). Contrary to precious metals, the recycling technologies for tantalum and rare earths are less well established despite their high importance for future sustainable technologies. In this study, mobile phone samples were manually dismantled into their main constituents and the qualitative distribution of elements in the PCA was determined. Tantalum capacitors can be visually distinguished from other components, whereas neodymium was detected in easily separable non-magnetic components sized between 0.5 and 1.5 mm. From tantalum capacitors, a tantalum rich-powder with a grade of 50% was obtained via a leaching process followed by an oxidizing heat treatment, while neodymium-rich fractions (4 to 14%) were obtained by sieving, magnetic and density separations.