Mobile (Cell) Phones

Mobile (Cell) phones are constructed from an array of metals (copper, gold, lead, nickel, zinc, beryllium and tantalum) and products derived from petroleum (crude oil & natural gas).

The creation of mobile phones requires that the raw materials (and the various by-products from these raw materials) first need to be extracted from the earth. They are then used to make each individual component of the mobile phone.

The Circuit Board

This is the ‘brain’ of the phone, like a computer.

The circuit board consist of many wires (copper) or circuits made of metal, located on a plastic (made from petroleum) or fibreglass board.

The raw materials required to make the components for circuit boards include crude oil (to make plastics), and silicon.

Other metals such as copper, gold, lead, nickel, zinc, beryllium and tantalumare mined to make components that are used to make the board as well. Many of the raw materials that are used in the manufacturing of the circuit board contain substances that can be potentially harmful to the environment if they are buried in landfill.

Liquid Crystal Display

This is the display on a phone that shows numbers, images and other information. The Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) are made using plastic, glass, liquid crystalline and mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal which can potentially be harmful to the environment if it ends up in landfill.


We will cover batteries in another product segment. However, to give a fuller account of the mobile (cell) phone manufacture a brief summary of the battery follows.

Batteries consist of two separate parts, called electrodes, made from two different types of metals. A liquid substance, called electrolytes, touches each electrode. When electricity is applied, like a phone charger, chemical reactions between the electrodes and the electrolytes cause an electric current to flow, enabling the storage of power, which is used (discharged) by the mobile (cell) phone for our calls, emails and to access the internet etc.

Manufacturing of the Mobile (Cell) Phone

Plastics and fibreglass are used to make the circuit board, which is then coated with gold plating. The board is also composed of several electronic components, connected with circuits and wires made of copper, which are soldered to the board and secured with protective glues and coatings.

The LCD screens are manufactured by layering liquid crystal between layers of glass or plastic.

The things we thank the Oil and Gas industry for. Where would we be without them?