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Message: Platinum Group Metal (PGM) Recovery

Platinum Group Metal (PGM) Recovery

posted on Apr 16, 2009 01:43PM

The following article appeared in Resource Investor.

Platinum Group Metal (PGM) Recovery


Pro-Or’s patented PGM extraction process allows the extraction of platinum-group metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium from PGM-rich ores and other concentrates at a substantially lower cost than conventional processes.

PGMs are primarily used in automotive catalytic converters. The recovery of PGMs is driven by high demand for catalytic converters, as well as high commodity prices. PGMs are mined, but also recovered from post-consumer scrap. As a measure, 30% of platinum demand and 10% of palladium demand have been recovered from scrap in the United States in recent years.

Pro-Or is targeting salvaged catalytic converters as a source of concentrate feed for its industrial plant. There is a ready source of supply of such concentrate in North America. This concentrate yields substantial gross revenues from each tonne of feed, and Pro-Or’s research indicates that processing costs are in the order of only 2% per tonne.

The advantages of Pro-Or’s technology over current industry practice are many. Recoveries are higher. Furthermore, the final product is reduced in volume by 600:1, meaning that considerably smaller volumes are sent to the refinery, generating substantial final-stage cost savings. Finally, production time is reduced from four months to one day, thus eliminating the need for hedging, a common means of financing shipments.


Pilot plant testing on the PGM recovery process was completed in April 2006. Pro-Or is presently looking into modifying its pilot plant to create a production plant capable of processing 60 to 100 tonnes per year in order to begin production as soon as possible. This would generate approximately $6 to $10 million in gross revenues. At the same time, the Company is investigating the feasibility of a 500 tonne-per-year industrial plant that could be built in Quebec and supplied locally. Management is in the process of negotiating the supply of catalytic converter concentrate as feed for such a plant. Once a supply agreement is signed, the Company estimates that industrial-scale PGM recovery could start within approximately 12 months.

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