In addition to jewellery, silver and its compounds are used in several major industrial applications, electronics and imaging industries being by far the most important. Silver is also used in catalysts, mirrors, metal bearings, soldering material, coinage, batteries, dental alloys and photovoltaics.
Umicore Precious Metals Refining has a production capacity of more than 2,400 tonnes of high purity silver per year, making it one of the world's largest silver refineries. Silver is produced as 99.99% granules and London Good Delivery bars (25 kg). We also market crystalline silver nitrate (AgNO3) produced in our Brazilian operations.
The most malleable of all metals, gold is primarily used in the jewellery industry. Increasingly important areas are electrical contacts and connectors for telecommunications and electronics. Since gold never corrodes or tarnishes, it is perfect for conducting electric current, even if it is very weak.
At last, it has historically provided investors for a safe haven.
In June 2013, Umicore was one of the first London Good Delivery gold refiners to pass the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Responsible Gold audit. This audit confirms that Umicore Precious Metals Refining's activities in Hoboken comply with the LBMA Responsible Gold Guidance.
The guidance provides a mechanism through which gold producers can demonstrate that their gold has been extracted in a manner that does not fuel conflict or the abuse of human rights. The audit builds on existing good practices and internationally accepted benchmarks such as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Through mutual recognition of other industry initiatives, Umicore Precious Metals Refining has also been listed as Conflict Free Smelter by the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC).
Umicore Precious Metals Refining in Hoboken is hence on the Conflict-Free Smelter list, see http://www.conflictfreesmelter.org/CompliantGoldRefinerList.htm.
Our production capacity for gold exceeds 100 tonnes per year, under the form 99.99% grains, small 1 kg bars and large London Good Delivery 12.5 kg bars.
Platinum Group Metals
The Platinum Group Metals are a group of six rare metals: platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. They are mined in ore deposits in South Africa, Russia, Canada and the USA. By virtue of their unique chemical properties, Platinum Group Metals are often used as a chemical catalyst in industrial processes and automotive and industrial pollution abatement. Resistance to corrosion and tarnishing, combined with mechanical strength and hardness, make the Platinum Group Metals suitable for highly demanding applications, such as glass fibre and high purity glass industries, surgical instruments, electrical contacts and laboratory equipment. Platinum is also one of the most precious jewellery metals.
The production capacities of Umicore Precious Metals Refining for platinum, palladium and rhodium are respectively 25, 25 and 5 tonnes per year. All these metals are produced in the form of a high purity powder (minimum 99.95%), known as "sponge". Ruthenium is also available as a powder / sponge, but of 99.9% minimum purity only.