What is a precious metal refinery?
A precious metal refinery is a place where precious metals, like gold or silver, are separated from other materials, generally by recycling scrap that contains these valuable elements. This procedure is very complicated and requires the intervention of a professional precious metal refiner.
This process extracts all the valuable materials in their pure form, so they can be re-introduced on the market. Many products can be refined to obtain these precious metals. Some examples are dental scrap, jewelry, implants, and electronics.
If you want to know more about the process of precious metal recycling, keep reading.
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How does a precious metal refinery work?
The refining process is a little bit complicated, and it also depends on the type of precious metal that needs to be refined. These are the general steps and what you can expect when you send your metal scrap to a refinery:
Receiving the materials: When you send your material to the refinery, the first stage of the process is the weighting of the lot. If you work with a responsible refiner, like Core Scientific, the metal scrap is opened in a secure area, weighed, and photographed. Then, the lots are assigned a unique identification number and stored in a secure location until their time to be processed.
Stone removal: If you sent in a batch of jewelry, it might be necessary to remove the precious stones before processing the metals. This is usually done through a chemical process involving a substance called Acqua Regia. In Core Scientific, we do this in our secure in-house laboratory, using Acqua Regia and acid digestion to carefully extract the precious stones from your jewelry.
Processing and melting: The first step to refine metals, like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, is melting the materials in an induction furnace or by a blowtorch, depending on the type of metal. Also, a purifying agent is added during this part of the process. The following step is mixing the molten material to ensure that the sample is uniform and representative. At this point, a serious refiner like Core Scientific takes a sample using the Pin Tube Sampling method while the metal is still molten, to be sure that the sample is 100% homogeneous. Then the liquid metal is poured into a mold and left to solidify. Some refineries wait for the metal to be solid to take a sample with the drilling method, which is less accurate.
Fire Assay and Atomic Absorption Spectrometry Analysis: The most used technique is the fire assay, which is recognized as very accurate and is the reference for the industry. This is a long and complex analysis, but it gives a result with an accuracy of two parts per thousand. At Core Scientific, we combine this method with ICP and atomic absorption technology, which can measure in parts per billion, ensuring that we are paying for every bit of your precious metal. We do this in our safe on-site laboratory, which reflects the highest standards of the industry.
Settlement: Once the analysis of your materials is ready, the company will notify you of the results and the final price according to the value of the precious metals, usually the value of the day that the lot arrived at the refinery. An honest precious metal refinery will provide you with the analytic data of the results, so you can be sure that it was all done correctly. At Core Scientific, we offer flexible payment options and can even tailor one for you, providing a quick turnaround.
As you have seen, the process of refining precious metals is directly connected to precious metal recycling. This is the reason why we use that term. You can recycle precious metals by sending them to a precious metal refinery, where they will process your material and after you receive your settlement, will go an extra step to recover the precious metals to get them back on the market. The most important thing is to partner with the right precious metal refinery to assure that you will work with a trustworthy company and get the highest value on your material.
What is the best precious metal refinery?
It surely sounds salesy to be the writer of this post and make this claim, but we do believe we are the leaders in the industry and the best precious metal refinery in North America. We have been recognized as an INC 5,000 company, one of the fastest private-growing companies in the USA, and we got this far by providing the highest returns in the industry and full transparency. Not only our advanced technologies and unique refining process beat our competitors, but we provide a customer portal where you will be able to track current and historical settlement records from one or multiple locations, from the moment we receive your lots until you receive your payments, see pictures of your material, see assay reports and verify weights.