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Workers sample the alloy to determine the percentage of precious metals. Sims sells these metal-alloy bars to other companies, which separate and purify the metals. Mark Glavin, a Sims vice president, says that the facility can recover 80 ounces of silver, eight ounces of gold, and three ounces of palladium from a ton of cell phones. That’s about $1 of metal per phone.

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