More income from full service catalyst refining

September 1, 2015

Sabin Metal is a global refiner of spent process catalysts containing precious metals. These include PGMs (platinum, palladium, rhodium, and ruthenium); rhenium, another valuable metal, is also present in many spent catalyst lots. When a catalyst lot loses its efficacy after a campaign, its precious metals must be reclaimed.

Sabin Metal has been recovering and refining precious metals for over 70 years. During this time we have seen many examples of how catalyst owners lose large amounts of money simply by making one decision based on the disposition of its spent precious metal bearing catalyst lots. The following is an example of what happened at one company.

The company had a 50-tonne lot of platinum-based catalyst ready for recovery and refining. The value of the remaining platinum in this lot (based on a price of $975 per troy oz of platinum) was approximately $4.7 million. That is the amount the company would have obtained from a full-service precious metals refiner (less all processing charges, including charges for hazardous material transport fees, license documentation and other documents, which represent about $250 000 for dock-to dock shipping). There were 4800 troy oz of platinum in this lot (typical content of 0.3% platinum). In other words, a full-service refiner would have determined its value at approximately $4.5 million, quite a nice return based on recovering virtually all of the remaining platinum (equal to about 95% of the lot’s value).

Instead, the catalyst owner decided to sell the entire lot — based on its total weight — for $2.8 million, an estimate that represented about 60% of the lot’s actual value. This lot was purchased by a third party broker (not a refiner). Precious metals brokers typically pay about 50% to 70% of the actual remaining values. The shortage to the catalyst owner amounted to about $1.6 million based on the actual value at that time.

Sabin Metal Corporation
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