Pt 34.783 Pd 31.832 Rh 147.893 Au 77.782 Ag 1.009

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Cost Components for Recycling Waste Containing Precious Metals (gold, palladium, platinum, rhodium and silver)


Calculating the true cost of precious metal recycling can be misleading, as it includes a number of variable components making comparison between different recyclers more difficult.

In this article, I will try to explain these cost components in order to present the full picture for those interested in selling / recycling waste containing precious metals.

Before examining the costs, I suggest following a few of rules of thumb –

  1. Prepare the waste in a way that maximizes the certainty of its contents, i.e., drying / burning / casting, in order to obtain a homogeneous material on which a preliminary test can be performed.
  2. Ensure the waste does not contain hazardous or toxic substances (such as mercury, arsenic, lead, bismuth, etc.), for which the recycler may impose a fine or even refuse to treat the waste
  3. Work with a reliable and reputable recycler (certificate of receipt, certificate of weights, orderly results report, fast payment, etc.).
  4. Find out whether it is possible to designate a fixed price (fixing) for the precious metals and at what stage of the transaction.
  5. A price that seems too attractive may be a red flag.
  6. Recycling prices are affected by the types of waste (electronics, catalytic converters, ingots, etc.) as well as by the metal concentrations of the waste itself.
    It is vital to compare prices within the same parameters.
  7. Whether the material is defined as DG and requires the approval of the Ministry of Environmental Protection / EPA, electronic waste / WEEE or any other waste – it is recommended to check local regulation and guidelines.

Approximation of recycling cost

As mentioned, recycling costs vary according to the type of waste and the concentrations of the metals.

Here are the cost components to consider:


Lot Charge

Minimum charge for handling a lot



Treatment Fee

Charge per Kg for treatment or processing

(burning / milling / casting)

5-25 $/kg


Refining Fee

on net metal return

0.2 $/g Au
0.5 $/g Pd
0.6 $/g Pt
2.5 $/g Rh


Metal Return

The return is always a few percent less than 100%



Metal Price

LME price (AM or PM) less a certain premium (in gold, almost zero, in rhodium and palladium slightly more)



Interest Rate

Usually, the metal is available after 60-90 days from getting the results. If you want immediate payment, then you have to pay an interest.
It is usually acceptable to charge 0.5% per month (when payment is in US$).



Lease Price

Immediate credit must include “Fixing” of metal price. “Lease Price” is the cost of fixing the metal price.
This cost changes all the time, varies from metal to metal and embodies the risk of market fluctuations.



Shipping & Insurance

The insurance price range is between 0.2%-0.3%




Problematic scraps which contain hazardous materials may get fined, depending on the percentage of it in the scrap.



In conclusion

Preparing the scraps in a homogenous manner / prior analysis of the scrap content / working with a reliable and reputable recycler – will all maximize the return and level of certainty.

Ami Gur

AG Metals Ltd.