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Umicore Precious Metal Recycling

Challenge

Recovery of scarce metals.

Problem

With legislation such as WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) becoming established around the world, rising volumes of end-of-life electronic equipment will need to be treated. In the EU this currently amounts to around 5 million tonnes per annum, around 14 kg per citizen, and is the fastest growing waste stream.

Solution

Umicore set up the world’s biggest plant for the recycling of precious metals in Hoboken, Belgium and has invested about €250 million in this operation in the past 10 years. The site is one of the most efficient worldwide and is able to recycle 17 metals, of which seven are precious metals. The plant processes around 300,000 tonnes per annum, yielding 50 tonnes of platinum group metals, 100 tonnes of gold and 2,400 tonnes of silver, among others.

Umicore considers itself a material technology group, offering high-performing materials for high-end applications, while using the minimum of scarce and expensive metals.

Benefits

Umicore has become the world’s leading recycler of precious metals with nearly all its precious metals coming from secondary materials
Strong return on investment

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