What is a precious metal refinery?
A precious metal refinery is a a facility 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.
The refining process extracts all the valuable materials in their pure form. Once refined, the metals can be re-introduced on the commodities market. Many different 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 as its dependent on the type of precious metal that needs to be refined. The following are the general refining steps and what you can expect when you send in your metal scrap to a refinery:
Receiving the materials: When you send your material to the refinery, the first stage of the process is weighing each lot. If you work with a responsible refiner, the metal scrap is opened in a secure area, weighed, and photographed. Then, each lot is assigned a unique identification number and then stored in a secure location until it’s time for processing.
Stone removal: If you sent in jewelry to be refined, 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. At 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: Once the metals are received and any jewels are removed, gold, silver, platinum, and/or palladium, is melted in an induction furnace or using a blowtorch; the method for melting depends on the type of metal. During this part of the process, a purifying agent is also added when 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 analysis technique is the fire assay, which is recognized as very accurate. This is a long and complex analysis, but it delivers 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 to ensure that we are compensating 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 market 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 performed correctly. At Core Scientific, we offer flexible payment options and can even tailor one for you, providing a quick turnaround.
The process of refining precious metals is directly connected to precious metal recycling. Precious metals are recycled by sending them to a precious metal refinery, where they will process your material and pay you with a settlement. We will go an extra step in the recycling process 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 are working with a trustworthy company and that you will get the highest value on your material.
What is the best precious metal refinery?
As leaders in the industry as the best precious metal refinery in North America, we have been recognized as an INC 5,000 company. INC 5,000 companies are among the fastest private-growing companies in the USA. Core Scientific’s success stems from providing the highest returns in the industry and full transparency to our customers. Not only our advanced technologies and unique refining process beat our competitors, but we uniquely utilize our customer portal. The portal is 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, understand assay reports, and verify metal weights.