Challenges in the Recycling of Precious Metals
Yoshihiro Kayanuma, Shoei Mizuhashi, Yuichiro Shindo
Precious metals from industrial scraps generated by manufacturing processes have been extensively recycled. For these recycles, it is necessary to ensure confidentiality when dealing with the scraps and to perform the recycling operation in an isolated lot with a high recovery ratio, short operation time, and low treatment cost. In recent years, three challenges have emerged in scrap recycling. The first is the decrease in the precious metal content in the scrap, owing to the substitution of precious metals with other non-ferrous metals. The second is the contamination of the scrap with metals that are not present in natural ores. These contaminations pose challenges in the extraction and purification of precious metals. The third challenge is the adherence to Japan’s environmental regulations, which have been tightened recently, restricting the continuous use of some chemicals such as nitric acid. In this report, some efforts of precious metal recycling companies to overcome these challenges are discussed. This Paper was Originally Published in Japanese in Japan Inst. Met. Mater. 81 (2017) 152–156.
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