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Case: Strong in silver

Umicore is one of the world’s largest silver refiners, with an array of innovative and environmentally-friendly refining technologies, an extensive product portfolio, and comprehensive supply services.

Umicore recycles old jewellery and industrial production scrap as well as by-products to cover the full range of low, medium and high-grade silver materials. “Our strength is our complete closed loop capability,” says Dietmar Becker, Senior Vice-President, Jewellery and Industrial Metals (JIM). “We make silver products for diverse industrial applications in milled and machined forms as well as high quality silver catalysts. Furthermore, we have a strong trading capability. Besides high quality grains we also make 1,000 ounce silver bars accredited by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and globally tradable silver investment bars.”

Complementing the silver refining capacity of the Precious Metals Refining plant in Hoboken are JIM’s silver refining facilities in Bangkok (Thailand), Pforzheim (Germany) and Manaus (Brazil). During 2014, major investments at each of these three JIM sites were implemented and successfully commissioned.

Multi-region investments

Umicore expanded its silver refining activities in Bangkok to meet increasing customer demand in south-east Asia. Its assaying capabilities and silver bars have been independently tested, with the result that Umicore Precious Metals (Thailand) Ltd has now been added to the LBMA’s Good Delivery List for silver.

In Pforzheim, a 33% capacity increase has been implemented and overall  competitiveness improved to serve all kinds of customers for industrial and jewellery applications. New silver dissolving technology is to be introduced during 2015. The investment in Manaus enables the facility to refine silver from throughout South America, and internal scrap from the operations of the Umicore Technical Materials business unit.

Environmentally responsible

The latest environmentally-friendly technologies have been developed as part of the investments. They include an in-house NOx-free dissolving technique, responsible waste water treatment processes, and measures to improve energy efficiency. 

“All our recent investments have contributed to significantly strengthen Umicore’s competitive advantage both in our one-stop-shop precious metal recycling offering and our complete customer service,” adds Dietmar.