Sustainable Resurgence in the Global Urban Mining Market

As per Inkwood Research, the global urban mining market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 12.97% during the forecast period 2024-2032. Urban mining, also called ‘above-ground mining,’ is the process of obtaining valuable metals and commodities from various urban sources, such as abandoned electronic gadgets and industrial waste. 

It highlights the recycling of already existing materials to promote a circular economy, distinguishing it from traditional mining methods. This practice aligns with the principles of the circular economy, where materials are reused and recycled to extend their lifecycle, mitigating the depletion of natural resources. 

Within the field of resource management and deteriorating infrastructure, including automobiles, electronics, etc., the urban mining sphere is fundamental for sustainability and innovation. It offers both environmental benefits and economic opportunities, essential in addressing reserve challenges and promoting responsible resource utilization.

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Strategic Resource Extraction in the Urban Mining Market

  • Conventional mining operations frequently result in soil degradation, habitat devastation, and high energy usage. 
  • Concurrently, urban mining lowers the demand for extracting new raw materials, preventing damage to the environment and lowering the carbon footprint connected to mining operations. 
  • Electronic waste, conversely, represents a rich source of valuable resources related to a wealth repository. Examples include precious metals such as gold, silver, and palladium found in smartphones, tablets, PCs, and laptops, alongside rare earth elements like neodymium and indium.
  • Urban mining initiatives are mining into resource reservoirs and recovering materials through advanced recycling processes. As a result, this not only reduces the dependency on traditional mining but also contributes to a more circular economy that aims to reuse and recycle.

Powering Progress: Initiatives in the Urban Mining Market

Exploring innovative approaches to foster sustainability and resource efficiency includes using waste from urban mining as an energy source through waste-to-energy conversion. Additionally, researchers are exploring methods to extract valuable materials from electronic waste for the creation of new products.

  • Veolia, in January 2024,  introduced a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology that allows its recycling collection vans to supply back-stored energy into the UK grid. This program is expected to significantly increase the UK’s energy deposit by adding 200 MW of flexible power capacity to the grid each day. This quantity of energy is sufficient to fulfill the requirements of approximately 150,000 households.
  • Tokyo-based contemporary design studio WE+, known for its innovative design and urban mining in Tokyo, introduced a research project named Remains in 2023, which includes the transformation of industrial waste into design materials.

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Urban Mining Market | Achieving Waste Treatment Milestones Through Partnerships 

Prominent contributors to the urban mining market comprise Umicore, Seuz, Veolia, Johnson Matthey, and Sims Limited. Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies, these entities excel in extracting valuable materials from electronic waste, establishing themselves as frontrunners in sustainable resource management. 

The market is transforming as governments and regulatory bodies across the globe increasingly acknowledge the significance of urban mining in advancing environmental sustainability objectives.

  • SUEZ partnered with Pyrum Innovations AG in June 2023 to construct the first tire recycling plant in the UK utilizing Pyrum’s patented pyrolysis technology.
  • In January 2023, in DESI Indonesia, DOWA Eco-System began its second waste treatment facility. It will have a secure waste landfill that can handle hazardous waste and a proposed site size of 540,000 m2. Utilizing a range of methods, recycling will involve techniques such as waste segregation, material blending, and detoxification processes.
  • Sims Metal, part of the Sims Limited metal recycling business, announced its acquisition of the US-based metal recycler Baltimore Scrap Corp (BSC) and its affiliated entities in August 2023.
  • Johnson Matthey in December 2023, collaborated with Basecamp Research to promote the use of biocatalysis solutions. The companies collaborated to meet the increasing needs of the chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors, Basecamp’s AI-enabled biodiversity genetic mapping joins forces with Johnson Matthey’s catalytic expertise. The shared objective of this collaboration is to decrease waste and energy consumption in both the agricultural and pharmaceutical industries.

Stay up-to-date with what’s trending in the Global Urban Mining Market

While the urban mining market holds substantive potential, it faces challenges such as the intricate composition of e-waste, legal frameworks, and the necessity for increased public awareness. However, the future of urban mining is emerging with the ongoing advancements in technology that specifically target and overcome these challenges. Furthermore, market growth is propelled by the worldwide dedication to creating a more resource-efficient and sustainable environment.

As urban mining practices advance and find diverse applications in sustainable resource management, there is a growing global demand for effective urban mining solutions. With continuous, targeted efforts and the introduction of environment preservation, sustainability and innovation are expected to propel the urban mining market growth over the forecast period.

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By Vinay Khatate


Urban mining technology utilizes advanced techniques to extract and process valuable materials from electronic waste efficiently. Innovations, including automated sorting systems, chemical processes, and state-of-the-art machinery, enhance the overall effectiveness of urban mining operations.

The global urban mining market contributes to sustainability by reducing the reliance on traditional mining, minimizing environmental impact, and promoting the circular economy. The extraction of valuable materials from electronic waste supports resource conservation and waste reduction.