43  Precious and rare metals

Most of the stable elements constituting our planet are metallic. All occur as trace concentrations within common rock types; a typical gold ore could contain as little as one part in 100,000. Unlike gold, however, most metals are found in chemical combination with other elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, chlorine or carbon.  Some also occur in related groups such as lead/silver; zinc/cadmium. Over centuries, the mining and extraction industry has therefore developed physical and chemical techniques for separating minute concentrations. As richer deposits are depleted, the industry is turning increasingly towards recovering materials of value from scrap products, wastes, toxic sludges, sweepings and other residues - more recently, from computers and catalytic converters.

Biological techniques based on harvesting plant species with a special affinity for particular elements are beginning to be used in effluent treatments, and offer the prospect of producing valuable by-products as well as solving a pollution problem.

Also see
Metallics, plastics and rubber (40) 
Common metals, ferrous and non-ferrous
Electronic and electrical scrap
Computers and electronic goods (87

Alphabetical list of organisations

ABS Alloys and Metals Division

Tel 01709 571717 Fax 01709 571801
Harry works, Glasshouse Lane, Kilnhurst, MEXBOROUGH, South Yorks S64 5TH

Specialist reclaimer of tungsten, nickel, cobalt, zirconium, titanium, tantalum, chrome, molybdenum, miobium, refractory and light metals; also aircraft alloys and tungsten carbide.

Associated Metal Traders

Tel 0208 985 9858 Fax 0208 985 9537
119 Wallis Road, Hackney Wick, LONDON E9 5LN

Specialist in treatment of mercury contaminated waste. Buys dental amalgam, bridges and crowns. Includes all other precious metal refining.

AWA Refiners Ltd

Tel 01279 423743  Fax 01279 422243
Website www.awarefiners.co.uk   Email sales@awarefiners.co.uk 
Units 7 & 10, Mead Park, Templefields, River Way, HARLOW, Essex CM20 2SE

Precious metal refiner handling all grades of gold, silver and platinum group metals, palladium, iridium and rhodium; tungsten, cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, titanium, tantalum, indium, mercury, tin/lead alloy scrap.  Sourced from jewellery, computer, electronic, dental, and photographic wastes; reusable electronic components, telecom relays, solutions, inks, pastes, sweeps, fines, powder, solids, contacts, wire, pins, plugs, connectors.  Prompt evaluation and payment for computer boards.  Obsolete mainframe computers purchased outright or dismantling service offered. 'Reusable' department for PCs, monitors, and other electronic equipment.  Range of solder alloys manufactured for the electronics, jewellery and plumbing industries.  National collection with 24hr insured service for valuables.  On site laboratory.  Free collection service in UK.  Formed 1991.  (Updated June 2004)

Barbican Metal Refiners Co Ltd

Tel 0207 253 4251
1-13 Seward Street, LONDON EC1V 3PA

Non-ferrous and precious metal merchants, including litho plates and photographic silver.

Betts Envirometal

Tel 01227 266677  Fax 01227 266699  
Email envirometal@bettsmetals.co.uk  Website www.bettsmetals.co.uk
Unit 2, Joseph Wilson Industrial Estate, WHITSTABLE, Kent CT5 3PS 

Operates three long-established refineries and treatment centres with up to date equipment to ensure the highest possible recovery of precious metals.  These include gold, silver, all photographic and print waste - fixer, developer, plate developer, solvents, ink, ink tins, blanket wash, X-ray film, aluminium plates. latest in recovery equipment which makes possible the smelting and refining of lower grade wastes containing precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium.  Trades serviced include jewellers, dentistry, silversmithing, photographic, potteries, electronics, glass silvering and bookbinders.  Also sells or leases silver recovery units to hospitals, printers and photo shops throughout UK.  The other two refineries are Betts in Birmingham and Stephen Betts in Kidderminster.  (Updated Jan 2003)

Church F J & Sons Ltd
Tel 01708 522651  Fax 01708 522786
Email traders@fjchurch.co.uk  Website www.fjchurch.co.uk  
Centenary Works, Manor Way, New Road, RAINHAM, Essex RM13 8RH

Buyer of used catalytic converters, gold, silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium in all forms as well as tantalum, titanium, ruthenium, hafnium and other minor metals. Computer boards purchased (any quality or condition). Reusable department for PCs, monitors and other electronic equipment. (Updated Sep 2001)

Commercial Smelting & Refining Co Ltd
Tel 0208 450 0037 Fax 0208 450 0030
Hillside Cottage, Dudden Hill Lane, LONDON NW10 1BJ

Purchaser of copper wire and cable, transformer tape, and other scrap containing precious metals.

Computer Salvage Specialists

Tel 01635 552666  Fax 01635 582990
Email  enquiries@computersalvagespecialists.com  Website  www.computersalvagespecialists.com
5 Abex Road, Bone Lane Industrial Estate, NEWBURY, Berks RG14 5EY
Contact  Andrew Braysher / Rachel Martin

Nationwide collection and recycling of all types of electronic waste from computer and electronics industry.  Moved in 2001 to secure purpose-built site for storage, separation and processing of electronic waste.  100% recycling routes for most end-of-life domestic televisions, CRT monitors and the majority of IT equipment.  Website has diagrams showing how each component is recycled, and lists precious metal content.  Solder paste container washing process has reduced amount of tin/lead bearing metals and plastic entering landfill.  Transport fleet has roll on and roll off container service.   Worldwide contacts.  Established 1985.  (Updated June 2004)

Concorde Metals Recycling Ltd
Tel 0208 858 2999 Fax 0208 305 0211
Units 3-4, Ashleigh Commercial Estate, Westmoor Street, Charlton, LONDON SE7 8NQ

Purchaser of used catalytic converters. Also any grade of copper; gunmetal and phosphor; aluminium and manganese bronzes; tin/lead; copper/iron (stators, rotors, armatures, motors). Head office West Bromwich. Branches in Cardiff, Manchester, Motherwell and Dublin.


Tel 01858 469001  Fax 01858 469002
Website www.edelchemie.com  Email  mail.uk@edelchemie.com 
Holland House, Valley Way, Welland Industrial Estate, MARKET HARBOROUGH, Leics LE16 7PS

Nationwide collection and processing of precious and non-ferrous metals and hazardous waste, particularly from photographic and printing industry wastes, including film processing solutions, film and paper; residues from on-site recovery operations; medical x-ray film; aluminium lithoplates.  Website lists waste types handled, some basic admin procedures, and directions/map.  Chemical photo waste may qualify for free collection.  Assists clients to reduce and segregate waste, maximise recycling and achieve most environmentally safe disposal.  Aims to minimise use of primary raw materials and avoid producing new waste products.   In-house treatment where appropriate, eg detoxification of cyanide-bearing plating chemicals, and partnerships with third parties.  Treatment may include mineralisation by pyrolysis, vitrification and chemical flue gas cleaning to cut emissions.  Collections and quotations can be arranged online.  Also operates in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.  (Updated Jan 2006)

Else Refining & Recycling Ltd

Tel 01462 812000  Fax 01462 817117  
Unit 7-8 Pole Hanger Farm, Shefford Road, Meppershall, SHEFFORD, Beds SG17 5LH  

Computer system refining & recycling.  Equipment dismantled for reusable parts, common and precious metal reclamation.  (Updated Feb 2004)

Environmental Storage Solutions
Tel 01933 222826  Fax 01933 273303
Email dclingo@ess22.freeserve.co.uk 
Unit 21, The Leyland Trading Estate, WELLINGBOROUGH, Northants NN8 1RT
Contact  David Clingo

Recycles white goods and equipment, refrigeration equipment, other domestic appliances, brown goods (TV, audio), office and IT equipment, recycling materials and/or components.  Specialist in granulation, cathode ray tube recycling, and precious metal refining.  Dismantling prior to recycling.  Collection countrywide, full loads only, charge dependent on product type.  (Updated Oct 2004)

Tel 0207 833 4734
113 Farringdon Road, LONDON EC1R 3DA

Precious metal reclamation primarily from jewellery trade wastes.

Gillett Recycling

Tel 01279 421271 Fax 01279 450878
10 Burnt Mill, Elizabeth Way, HARLOW, Essex CM20 2HT

Non-ferrous and precious metal scrap dealer. Transfer station.

Hartnell Precious Metals

Tel 01923 853424 Fax 01923 853482
9 Oakridge Avenue, RADLETT, Herts WD7 8EN

Recovery and processing of precious metals from industrial sources.

Inco Europe Ltd

Tel 0208 965 6031
Rashley Road, LONDON NW1D 6SN

Smelting and refining precious metals.

Ireland Alloys Ltd
Tel 01698 822461
Website www.ireland-alloys.co.uk  Email trader@ireland-alloys.co.uk  
PO Box 18, HAMILTON, Scotland ML3 0EL
Contact  Allan Addie, Director

Recycling plant, slogan "We do a great deal with your scrap".  Provides revert management solutions.  Processors of aerospace alloys.  Buys, processes and sells complex alloys.  Will buy solids, turnings and residues in small or large tonnages.  Website lists these, with chemical makeup, properties and applications.  Also has a clear diagram of the periodic table and alphabetical list of the elements!  Established 1964.  Member of Murray Metals Group.   (Updated July 2005)

JBR Recovery Ltd
Argentor House, Oldbury Road, West Bromwich, West Midlands B70 9BS
Tel 0121 525 1691  Fax 0121 553 3107
Email argentor@jbr.co.uk  Website www.jbr.co.uk
Contact  Alec Tiley, Managing Director

Processor of waste materials containing silver.  Recovers silver from photographic wastes, and incinerates specialised wastes.  Silver smelting and photographic waste management.  West Bromwich is the only office and operates nationally, sourcing silver from across the UK.  JBR delivers 240 tonnes of 999 silver each year, and refines silver for the London Bullion Market.  With G&P (see entry under Batteries), JBR is part of Recycling Services Group.  (Updated Apr 2003)

Johnson Matthey PLC
Tel 0208 804 8111
Jeffreys Road, Brimsdown, ENFIELD EN3 7PW

Reclamation and refining of precious metals from various wastes on behalf of clients.

Just Refiners & Technology Ltd

Tel 01487 710477 Fax 01487 710484
32 Highgate Industrial Estate, Stocking Fen Road, Ramsey, HUNTINGDON, Cambs PE17 1RB

Reclamation of silver, gold, platinum, palladium and rhodium from process wastes (sweepings, slags, residues and solutions); plated scrap; electrical contacts; X-ray photo and lithographic films.

Keywell (UK) Ltd
Tel 0207 473 1773 Fax 0114 248 1999
Thames Road, Silvertown, LONDON E16 2EZ

Nationwide collection of turnings, stainless steel, nickel alloys, titanium alloys. Head office Sheffield.

KGR Metals Ltd
Tel 0161 794 9646 (7am-7pm)  Mobile (24 hours) 07718743282  Fax 0871 7335247
Email mail@kgr-metals.co.uk  Web www.kgr-metals.co.uk
Unit 4, Leverbridge Mills, Radcliffe Road, BOLTON, Lancs BL3 1RU
Contact  Kevin English, kevin@kgr-metals.co.uk 

Metals processing and recycling centre, specialising in aluminium (including toll conversion), foil and steel cans.  Also receives batteries, aerosol cans, computer hardware, and electric cable.  Serves businesses and communities locally and nationally, from multinationals and local authorities to small businesses.  Scrap metal collection from can banks at amenity and community waste sites.  Printed circuit boards and low end computer equipment are recycled to recover copper, other precious metals, and the boards themselves.  Materials are weighed and checked before the laboratory analyses each metal for the best form of re-use, and to ensure quality specifications.  Operates a public weighbridge.  Fleet vehicles supply nationwide collection and delivery, including a "just in time" service.  Free estimates.  Website's information section includes advice, facts and graphs on recycling of UK domestic and industrial metals.  (Updated Jan 2004)

Mastermelts Ltd

Tel 0207 242 4015
16 Baldwins Gardens, LONDON EC1N 7RJ

Precious metal refining and reclamation from jewelry trade and industrial and other waste streams.

Maker Mends
Tel 01268 546546 or 01268 543838  Fax 01268 546100
Email enquires@makermends.com  Website www.makermends.com

Largest jewellery repair company in Europe.  Uses modern systems (eg tracking) to support high volumes of work from modern high street jewellers, retailers and catalogue companies.  Smaller independents can also use the comprehensive and varied range of services, including watch repairs, all provided on one site.  Website has interesting explanations with clear diagrams of various aspects of the industry, including metals, watches and stones.  Sister company to Star Refining (see below).  (Updated July 2004)

Mercury Recycling Ltd

Tel 0161 877 0977  Fax 0161 877 0390
Email info@mercuryrecycling.co.uk  Website www.mercuryrecycling.co.uk 
Unit G, Canalside North, John Gilbert Way, Trafford Park, MANCHESTER M17 1DP

Collection and recycling nationwide, through a network of collectors or directly, of fluorescent tubes, sodium lamps and all forms of lighting, lamps and bulbs.  Website states mercury from one fluorescent tube can pollute 30,000 litres of water beyond a safe level for drinking.   Only UK company with the equipment (made in Sweden) to recycle lighting by separating components - mainly glass, metal and mercury (predominantly from fluorescent tubes).  Operates 'Lampsafe' (for tubes 2' to 8') and 'Bulbsafe' service (for compact fluorescents, 2-Ds, halogens and mercury vapour lamps - container takes up to 400 bulbs and is collected free), providing special containers.  Also deals with other waste that bears mercury, such as button cell batteries (particularly from hearing aids), thermometers, barometers, manometers (pressure gauges), dental amalgam.  Mercury supplier and consultancy.  Byproducts go to other industries for use as raw materials or further recycling.  Works with Biffa in contract to recycle 1 million lamps from government buildings.  Plant opened 1998.  Plans to open a second site in the south of England.  (Updated Sep 2004)

Mining & Chemical Products Ltd

Tel 01256 897200 Fax 01256 895259
The Mill House, Laverstoke, WHITCHURCH, Hants RG28 7NS

Specialist scrap dealer - bismuth, gallium, indium, tellurium, selenium, low melting point alloys and solder scrap.

Odin Research & Development

Tel 01623 860170 Fax 01623 835673
Unit 198A, Boughton Industrial Estate, Boughton, NEWARK, Notts NG22 9LD

Precious metal reclamation, especially where mercury is co-present. Vacuum retort operator.

Past-IT Recycling Services

Tel 01953 488526  Mobile 07795 186396
Email info@pastit-recycling.co.uk  Website www.pastit-recycling.co.uk 
The Willows, Mere Road, Stow Bedon, Attleborough, Norfolk, UK NR17 1HP

Collects equipment from single PCs to entire offices, any age or specification, for recycling (can collect outside office hours to avoid disruption).  Items include desktop and notebook computers, servers, networking equipment, printers, and most IT related equipment.  All items are recorded onto asset tracking database before disassembly.  Handles ferrous, non-ferrous and precious metals, and plastics including acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polycarbonate (PC), high impact polystyrene (HIPS).  Cathode Ray Tubes from monitors are broken down into glass, copper and lead.  Steel, aluminium and plastic cabinet parts are removed.  Circuit boards are depopulated of integrated circuits ('chips') and other usable components, and stripped of connectors, metal brackets and hazardous materials such as batteries, before further materials recovery.  Edge connectors, visible precious metals and various other components are handled by specialist refiners and recyclers, Environment Agency licensed and holding ISO14001.  Residual waste is granulated to recover copper and other base metals.  Concise, clear, interesting website, including legislation for RoHS (heavy metals and toxic flame retardants), Landfill and WEEE directives.  Secure data deletion and certified destruction with audit, including all IDE and SCSI disc drives, made unrecoverable to standards exceeding US Department of Defence.  Materials are physically shredded to about 20mm2, prior to recovery processing.  Information pack available.  Duty of care waste transfer notes provided.  EA registered Controlled Waster Carrier.   (Updated Apr 2005)

P&O Closed Loop Logistics
Tel 01473 581305  Fax 01473 581333
Email  maria.hill@po-transeuropean.com    
Peninsular House, 11 Lower Brook Street, IPSWICH, Suffolk IP4 1AJ
Contact  Maria Hill

Collects and recycles IT equipment, white goods (eg washing machines, freezers), brown goods (TVs, audio), and all other electrical, electronic equipment.  Specialist in CRT recycling and precious metal refining.  Collection countrywide, no minimum load.  (Updated Oct 2004)

Phoenix County Metals Ltd

Tel 01327 60581 Fax 01327 60191
Great Central Way, Woodford Halse, DAVENTRY, Northants NN11 3PZ

Reclamation of precious metals (gold, silver, platinum etc) from industrial and post-consumer electronic scrap. Also hazardous chemical management and waste disposal for manufacturers of the above, electroplaters and laboratories.

Precious Waste Recovery Ltd

Tel 0207 831 2028
Hatton House, 17-21 Hatton Wall, LONDON EC1N 8JE

Precious metal recovery from all sources, especially dental waste streams. Suppliers of dental amalgam separation systems.


Tel 01594 844955 Fax 01594 844966
Unit 1, Wards Industrial Estate, Mead Land, LYDNEY, Glos GL15 5EU

Electronic scrap recycling and precious metal trading. Dealer in complex metal scraps.


Tel 0207 831 2028
Hatton House, 17/21 Hatton Wall, LONDON EC1N 8JE

Recycling of mercury-based materials and precious metals.

Saxon Recycling

Tel 01223 839966  Fax  01223 839998  Email info@saxonrecycling.co.uk  Website www.saxonrecycling.co.uk  
Lion Works, Station Road, WHITTLESFORD, Cambs CB2 4NL

Chemical waste collection service for all types of photographic and printing and some healthcare wastes. Payment for fixing solutions, negative film, aluminium plates, silver.  Also collect plastics (eg HDPE), developer, blanket wash, ink, ink tins etc for recycling or disposal. Free labelled collection containers supplied. Recycling is core to the business, so resources managed to reduce waste, save energy, promote recycling and understanding amongst employees and customers, to avoid environmental damage.  Offers environmental audits, and can install automated bulk collection systems. Runs ink recovery and separation plant. Collects by lorry across the country. (Updated Oct 2003)

Silverlining Industries Ltd

Tel 0113 286 2323
Richmond Works, Selby Road, Garforth, LEEDS, West Yorks LS25 1NB

Purchaser of all types of electronic scrap containing recoverable precious metals, reusable components etc. Local collection service.

Simpson W J & Son (Metals) Ltd

Tel 01386 833447 Fax 01386 833449
Unit 2A, Honeybourne Airfield, Weston Road, Honeybourne, EVESHAM, Worcs WR11 5QF

Power cable stripping and photoreceptor drum recycling.

Specialist Metal Services Ltd (SMS)

Tel 01375 855000 Fax 01375 855005
Email  100713.26721@compuserve.com 
Hume Works, Hume Avenue, TILBURY, Essex RM18 8DX
Contact  Jeremy Lindop  

Precious and rare metal refiner.  Purchases IT and office equipment, PCBs, telecoms, electronic scrap, dental and photographic wastes, industrial residues containing precious metals - gold, silver, and platinum group; tin/lead alloys and drosses; nickel and alloys; tungsten; molybdenum; cobalt; tantalum.  Materials and/or components recycled.  National collection service.  No minimum load - charge negotiable.  (Updated July 2005)

Star Metals Ltd

Tel 0208 874 4391 Fax 0208 874 5737
Armoury Works, Armoury Way, Wandsworth LONDON SW18 1EX

Scrap dealer - precious and rare metals including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, tin/lead alloys, nickel and alloys, titanium, tungsten, molybdenum, cobalt, tantalum, indium.

Star Refining (London) Ltd
Tel 0845 262 0069 / 0207 242 0009  Fax 0207 430 2760
Email info@starrefining.com  Website www.starrefining.com 
Contact  Terri Phillips, Marketing Department

UK's largest collector and processor of dental scrap, and largest collector of waste amalgam.  Leading collector of scrap from the retail and manufacturing jewellery business.  Uses modern technology for independent analytical reporting and impartial analysis of scraps.  Receives bench sweeps, carpets and flooring, lemels and bench grindings, fine gold and silver, gold-plated watch bands, platinum/palladium, polishings, silver and gold solder, vacuum bags from bench suction systems, and silver oxide button cell batteries.  Services pottery, optical, computers, aerospace, medical, automotive, and other general industries using precious materials in manufacture.  No shipment too small or large.  Processed over 10,000 kilos of waste amalgam, and received and processed over 300 parcels of dental scrap per week in 1999.  Website includes current metals prices updated daily.  Sister company to Maker Mends (see above).  (Updated July 2004)