On September 23, 2013, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China issued a circular postponing the implementation of the regulation that would have eliminated cyanide-gold plating at the end of 2014.
The proposed requirement for the elimination of auric potassium cyanide gold electroplating and potassium aurocyanide gold plating processes was originally issued in February 2013 in the Catalogue of Products Subject to Industrial Restructuring (2011 edition, as revised). IPC staff and its members in the United States and China, along with the China Printed Circuits Association and other industry associations, were instrumental in persuading the government to suspend the regulation.
“We are pleased that the Chinese government has recognized the technical requirements of the gold plating application process in electronics,” says John Mitchell, IPC president. “The global electronics industry depends on gold plating materials to produce reliable and functional aerospace, telecommunication, defense, consumer and transportation products.”
IPC, along with a number of its member companies and several industry associations, met with NDRC on May 17, 2013, to discuss its concerns about the ban. During the meeting, participants provided technical information and data to NDRC on the highly sophisticated technical requirements of gold plating application in electronics, and highlighted the critical need for careful evaluation of an alternative. Participants also explained treatment and control technology currently in use worldwide to provide environmental safety for cyanide gold plating in electronics. Since that meeting, IPC has taken a lead role in collecting and organizing supporting technical information requested by NDRC.
In its notice suspending the revision, NDRC cited the importance of gold plating materials in a wide variety of high technology electronics, the worldwide use of cyanide-gold plating processes, and the concerns regarding the validity and availability of the previously touted gold potassium citrate (non-cyanide) plating processes.
For more information, contact Fern Abrams, IPC director of government relations and environmental policy, at FernAbrams@ipc.org.