Recycling (Recovery of scarce metals)
Umicore is not a metals group: our strategy is not to produce as much metal as we can and ride the waves of the economic cycle. Umicore is a material technology group offering highly performing materials for high-end applications, using as little as possible of these scarce and expensive metals.
This strategy is reflected in our goal to continuously increase reusing materials in our production processes. It involves products which have reached the end of their life cycle or by products of other production processes.
Recycling is particularly important in the field of precious metals. Although precious metals are designed in such a way that they become increasingly efficient, the use of modern technology in everyday applications has exploded in recent years boosting the demand for precious metals, which are scarce by definition.
Meanwhile Umicore has become the world’s leading recycler of precious metals: almost 100% of our inflow of precious metals originates from secondary materials.
DID YOU KNOW
Umicore operates its own Fort Knox?
Umicore set up the world’s biggest plant for the recycling of precious metals and has invested about € 250 million in this operation in the past ten years. Our site is one of the most efficient worldwide and is able to recycle 17 metals, of which seven are precious metals.
Base metals like copper, nickel and lead are used to recover or ‘collect’ precious and other secondary metals as part of Hoboken’s complex recycling and refining operation. Precious metals like palladium, platinum, rhodium, gold or silver connect themselves to copper just like special metals like indium, bismuth, selenium or tellurium are found in conjunction with lead.