Companies That Are Not Refiners
World leaders for wet chemistry refining of auto catalyst are Johnson-Matthey, Heraeus, BASF, and UMICORE. The first three companies maintain wet chemistry operations in the US.
The major US smelters sell to these companies concentrates of platinum, palladium and rhodium produced from their furnace operations because they are smelters not precious metal refiners. All catalyst from converters is considered low grade PGM material and must be smelted into ingot. This vital upgrade step increases the PGM concentration to the point that it becomes an acceptable feedstock for the wet chemistry process of refiners.
Now, there are companies that claim to be “refiners”, but, they are not. Platinum group metals refining requires a series of complex chemical separations techniques these companies are not equipped to conduct. They will receive either your whole cats or de-canned auto catalyst. Here is their process – they de-can, ball mill to homogenize then extract samples to analyze your catalyst and pay for your material.
Sounds good so far…but then they send it to a smelter to be sampled and assayed a second time. So, because they have inserted themselves in between the collector of catalytic converters and smelter they have additional overhead, and expenses they must allow for when buying. Also, whatever you send to them, whether whole converters or de-canned catalyst, there will be another freight burden from there operation to the smelter.
If you are able to send catalyst straight to a smelter who does the same thing as these refiners, you are not at risk of paying the extra cost they incur.