Platinum group metals (PGM) are six chemically very similar elements: Platinum (Pt), Palladium (Pd), Rhodium (Rh), Iridium (Ir) Ruthenium (Ru) and Osmium (Os). Mineable deposits are very rare and found in relatively few areas of the world. South Africa dominates the PGM world production with 58 percent, Russia accounts for a further 26 percent - most of this as a co-product of nickel mining. Moreover, the world demand is steadily increasing mostly due to the high loads of PGM currently used in automobile catalysts, thus complying with the increasingly restrictive emissions legislation.
To decouple Norway and Europe from unreliable suppliers, secondary material streams must be fostered. Moreover, the recovery of these valuable elements from by-products and waste streams is in good harmony with the goals of the Circular Economy towards zero-waste societies.
K.A. Rasmussen (KAR) has recently seen an increase in enquiries for producing products consisting of Ir and Ru, as well as capturing and producing pure quality metals of these elements. This collaborative project will allow KAR to deliver the desired service to the market.
KAR will have the information needed to implement a process for the recovery and refining of Ir and Ru, thus increasing the competitiveness and diversity of KAR. The studied processing techniques might also be transferable to other segments of the circular metallurgy industry.
SINTEF takes the responsibility of developing, fine-tuning, and verifying the different technologies under study. In collaboration with KAR, the results obtained will be benchmarked and evaluated in their overall technological performance, including the environmental footprint.
This project will allow SINTEF to increase its competence in the field of recovery of precious metals from secondary resources and valorization of waste streams, as well as consolidate the partnership with KAR.