The government said on Friday it would give local businesses money to find new ways to reuse or recycle precious metals to make them more resilient to fluctuations in supply and price of raw materials.

Laptops, mobile phones, vehicle catalysts contain precious metals such as gold, platinum and palladium, along with rarer metals such as indium or gallium.

The price of gold has doubled in the last three years to around $1,650.00 (1,049.69 pounds) an ounce, while the price of palladium has quadrupled in price to around $700.00 an ounce.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said it would offer financial support of 200,000 pounds and would aim to establish partnerships between local businesses, communities and authorities to ensure none of these materials went to waste.

DEFRA estimates that between now and 2020 Britain will dispose of 12 million tonnes of electronic equipment - a quarter of which will be IT equipment, consumer electronics and display devices, which it estimates contain around 63 tonnes of palladium alone.

I want to see British businesses taking advantage of this golden opportunity to boost growth and jobs through how we design products, while re-using, recycling or substituting valuable metals, Business Secretary Vince Cable said.

There are a wealth of opportunities that exist for businesses to capitalise from the valuable materials that are thrown away in unwanted electrical equipment each year.

The programme, the Resource Security Action Plan, will also create a map of the process by which precious metals enter and exit the electrical and electronics manufacturing chain to enable business to capture and cash in on unwanted material.

DEFRA estimated that almost a quarter of all used or broken electrical and electronic products taken to household recycling centres could be fixed and resold, a business that could be worth as much as 200 million pounds each year.

(Reporting by Amanda Cooper, editing by William Hardy)