A Refined Process

When you get down to the nuts and bolts of Precious Metal refining, the sample is the end all be all.  It is the deciding factor as to how much our customer will get paid.  So it goes without saying, the sample is extremely important.  As the leading company in New England that does this kind of work, we go through several steps to ensure we obtain the perfect homogenous sample. The place this happens is in our Sample Room.

The isolated temperature and humidity-controlled environment in our proprietary sample room is ideal for determining the exact value of all the metals a customer brings in. As a Precious Metals refinery, we get quite a variety of material, things like; hazardous solutions from platers, chamber scrapings from Hi tech processes, and Polishing Sweeps from jewelry manufacturers. These metals may come to us in a bag or buried deep in an old rug from a jewelry repair shop. You may wonder how we are able to pay a customer for the precious metal particles embedded in that an old rug. Sure, the customer could vacuum the rug, send us the bag, and receive a check for the effort in which case they’ll, A) get a smaller check than they should, and; B) throw away many dollars worth of precious metal particles.  The other option is they can bring the rug to us at Advanced Chemical where we incinerate the old floor covering and use a series of processes to secure a sample that our lab can assay. (Check out the technique.)

Our sample room is home to two sample blenders, two spinning rifflers, as well as dust control equipment. This process makes Advanced Chemical far more cutting-edge than other operators still using the Byzantine “paper folding” technique where the dust from incineration is blended by hand with the dust being placed on a piece of paper.  The paper is then folded a number of times in order to blend the dust and samples are then scooped out of the dust. Our process of using the blenders and spinning riffler gives us the greatest improvement in homogeneity and sample integrity. Years of perfecting our technique and increasing our capacity have coincided with our ability to deliver to you that ideal, homogenous sample for which you’ll get paid.

No matter how big or small, every job that comes through our facility is treated with the same attention to detail. After all, you want to get as much as you possibly can for your precious metal particles… and we want you to as well.

Advanced Chemical is a family-owned and operated full-service precious metals refinery, headquartered in Warwick, Rhode Island. We are ISO-9001:2008, ISO-14001:2004, R2:2008 Certified and ITAR Registered. Contact us today for more information about how you can benefit from our years of experience and our open door policy. We look forward to earning your business.

Refining Precious Metals to Gain the Highest Value – Part Two: Smaller Orders

In the first part of this series, we discussed the steps of precious metal refining for industrial-materials and the varying amounts of time it can take to return value to you, the customer. Every month, our team transports precious metal bearing hazardous waste materials from all 50 states.  Those materials arrive at our main facility and are then weighed, assigned a lot number and secured.  This entire process is recorded via video surveillance for added security.

These materials are then processed into a homogenous form through one of several methods.  Once a homogenous form is achieved, samples are taken and assayed to determine the amount and quality of the precious metals contained within the material.  With these types of materials, the entire process can take up to 60 days.  This might seem like a long time, but it allows us the opportunity to ensure the most value for our customers.

Less Complexity, Quicker Turnaround

For some of our customers, however, the intricate processes that go along with hazardous materials such as electroplating solutions, filters, rugs, and tons of circuit boards really aren’t necessary.  We often deal with karat jewelry, dental crowns, and various types of metals including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.  In these cases, melting can still be an option and a small amount can settle in as little as three working days.  But there are many types of precious metal-bearing materials that do not lend themselves to melting.  For these materials, the various processes we offer can take 20, 30 or up to forty-five working days.

Cyanide Strip

In instances where material is electroplated with gold, the cyanide stripping process is a fast, efficient, cost-effective way of refining.

By immersing the scrap we receive into a stripping solution, we can remove the gold and then assay the solution to determine the ultimate value.  This process is so efficient, we can strip up to 10,000 pounds of plated material in a single day.

Acid Digestion

For material plated with multiple layers, for instance – gold over nickel over a second layer of gold – the cyanide strip method will not get through the layer of nickel.  These materials can be placed  into our acid digestion kettles where we can reveal all of the layers of precious metals.  This method is perfect for removing genuine stones in old scrap jewelry.

Show Me the Money!

Once the refining process is complete, the resulting material has been weighed and the value of the precious metal is determined, there are several methods which we use to return that value to the customer:

  •  Check
  •  Wire transfer
  •  Metal transfer to a customer’s supplier
  •  Products provided by Advanced Chemical such as gold grain or Potassium gold cyanide
  •  Plating baths
  •  Resins

Regardless of which refining method you choose, we guarantee the highest level of security, the quickest turnaround time possible and the most value for your precious metals.  Give us a call today to find out which process will best suit your needs.

Precious Metal Refining, Part One – The Steps (and Time) Needed For Value

When you hear the term “precious metal refining”, you might think about the simple process of superheating a substance, melting away non-precious metals and impurities, and leaving behind a valuable substance.  That’s certainly an aspect of what we do here at Advanced Chemical Company, but there’s so much more involved in our processes.  For over forty years, we’ve been dealing with hazardous materials that bear precious metals and have since become the largest hazardous material refiner in North America.  Because of this, precious metal refining can be as simple as a three-day process… or, it can become an involved 60 day procedure.

In this first of a two-part series, we’ll take a look at the lengthier aspects of precious metal refining.  In part two, we’ll highlight some of the simpler approaches to the process.

The More Complicated the Job, the More Time it Takes to Refine

A large portion of our business is Industrial Refining.  Several times a month we receive precious metal bearing hazardous waste from all 50 states.  When the materials arrive (securely contained), they are weighed, assigned a lot number and secured.  And talk about added security – extremely high value material can be weighed on a scale which is connected to security camera,   recording the entire process.

When refining, our goal is to obtain a homogenous sample and perform an assay to accurately determine the precious metal content.  An assay is a qualitative or quantitative analysis of a metal or ore to determine its components.

As you might expect, different materials require different sampling techniques, for instance; Materials in cyanide solution are pumped into our sampling tanks.  The drums are triple rinsed and added to the solution.  The solution is then heated to 120 degrees and agitated constantly.  Solution samples are taken from five quadrants in the tank, each corner and the center.  The weight of the solution is then verified and the material is ready for assaying.

Materials in acid solution require a different refining process.  Incineration of these materials takes place in one of our six furnaces and treated as a “sweep”.  At the end of the process we are left with a fine powder that is blended/mixed and sampled.

Acid digestion is yet another involved process here at Advanced Chemical and we’ve detailed that in a past article.

A Pin sample is taken when melting is required.    A specialized glass vacuum rod takes the molten metal from the center of the melt.  When the samples cool it resembles a pin. In all of these processes we can provide up to three samples:  one for our laboratory to assay, one for the customer upon request and a third sample sent to an independent lab in the event of a discrepancy.  The third sample is commonly referred to as the “umpire” sample.

Worth the Weight…and the Wait

The assay performed determines the quantity of the precious materials found as a percentage by weight.  That percent by weight is then multiplied by the after melt weight of the bar of material that results from the melting process.  After the assay is complete, the customer will then have a clear idea of the amount of precious metals available to them.

As you can see, we have quite a few involved, proprietary refining processes.  Of course, our attention to security, detail, and providing the most value to our customers is what makes us the industry leader.  If you have precious metals that need to be refined, call one of our experts to find out what process will best match your needs.

In our next article, we’ll discuss some of the simpler approaches of refining smaller orders.

Conflict-Free Metals and Refining Today

The Dodd-Frank Act has changed how the refining of precious metals is overseen, and Advanced Chemical has acted in accordance with the law. In fact, we welcomed this change so that metals are bought and sold ethically, legitimately and legally.

To meet this challenge, we have implemented a Conflict Metal Policy and a training program for our employees. We will continue to work hard in securing total compliance that adheres to these important rules and regulations.

But what does this mean for you?

For example, if you are interested in refining gold with Advanced Chemical, you will have to complete some extra paperwork.  Completion of a Conflict Metals questionnaire will be needed to sell your gold in this new environment of transparency. New customers will need to complete these forms prior to receiving their settlement.

To view the Conflict Metal Form and a letter from Advanced Chemical, please click here for a downloadable version.

So why the change? In recent times, you may have seen news reports of precious stones in war zones — so called “blood diamonds.” These conflict diamonds have been sold and used to fund wartime conflicts and are obtained by abusing human rights, most notably in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Just as precious stones were used to fund wars, so too were precious metals. So now a crackdown on conflict precious metals has begun to match the curtailing of blood diamond sales. We hope that these measures will lead to a more peaceful situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all areas of the world where conflict metals are used for harmful purposes.

At Advanced Chemical, we applaud the measures taken to stop war and fight human rights abuses. Recording proper documentation and following the law in our precious metals dealings are tasks that our team will continue to do — both now and into the future.

If you have any questions on how this new provision affects you and your plans to sell your gold, please contact Advanced Chemical. Our experts can walk you through filling out formwork or answer questions you may have. We take seriously our responsibilities in this matter, and we thank you for your understanding and willingness to help us comply with this important legal provision.

The USA PATRIOT Act and Its Effect on the Metal Refining Industry

One of the most immediate and sweeping changes that took place after September 11, 2011 was the signing into law (October 26, 2001) of the USA PATRIOT Act.  The acronym stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.

According to the United States Department of the Treasury, the purpose for the USA PATRIOT Act is to “deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world” and, in part, “to strengthen U.S. measures to prevent, detect and prosecute international money laundering and financing of terrorism.”

Now, here’s the part that’s of particular interest to our industry.  Section 352 of the Act requires financial institutions to establish anti-money laundering programs.  The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) defines “financial institutions” as including “dealers in jewels, precious metals, or precious stones.”

Since gold is one of the most easily laundered means of worldwide currency, you can see why this law is a vital tool to combat the funding of terrorism.

Here at Advanced Chemical, we take this mandate very seriously.  It’s not only the law.  We realize our reputation (and that of our clients and customers) is at stake.  Therefore, we have initiated a strict Anti-Money Laundering Policy in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act, protect our employees, clients and customers, and assist in the fight against money laundering.

While some companies may do the minimum for compliance, we believe it is important to not only follow the letter of the law, but go above and beyond to ensure the integrity of the items we are working with. This extends beyond the PATRIOT Act. Here’s how our policies work (frankly, it’s fairly simple):

First, any new customer bringing material to us is required to fill out a USA PATRIOT Act form (a copy of which can be found on our website) and provide a valid driver’s license.  At this time we also ask customers to fill out an anti-money laundering compliance certificate and verification that the metals presented are not conflict metals.  If this is an individual’s transaction, and not a corporation, it’s important to keep in mind there is a waiting period involved. For some customers, that might seem to be too much of an inconvenience, and this approach allows them to walk away from the situation without feeling awkward or uncomfortable.  It also gives us a detailed history of the minerals presented.

A good example is a recent case where an individual approached us with some material that was basically tossed in the trash at the company where he works.  Now, the best practice would probably be to consult with a manager and mention there might be something valuable being disposed of by the company in their dumpster.  By going out on his own, we had no way of knowing who the employee was or what the history was for this material, or even if he should be in possession of it. After we entered his info in our system, the police got curious.  As it turns out, the employee’s story checked out. The company had no idea they were throwing out valuable material. One of our salesmen approached them with ideas on how to segregate their material better. Now we have an excellent client for which we are consulting.  But the only way to gather the needed information is by completing the paperwork required.   It’s a simple process that yields amazing results…and solidifies the legitimacy of our industry.

One other controversial topic that comes up is guarding against the use of conflict metals, elements that are often found in simple electronic gadgets.  What are they and why should you be concerned?  Keep watching this space… future blog posts will go more in depth about our anti- money laundering and conflict metals safeguards.

Refining with the Proper Paperwork

Reputation and transparency — these two traits are needed for each and every transaction that Advanced Chemical oversees. To help us achieve this, our General Background Form is something that is required in all refining transactions we approve.

There are two different levels of paperwork that need completed: one for corporations and one for individuals. Corporations are entities with a Tax ID to do business, and individuals are people who are bringing material in of their own to make a settlement out in their own name. The Patriot Act form for corporations and the Precious Metals Form that are required are two fold; corporations complete The Patriot Act form and their material can go immediately into the refining process without a waiting period. Individuals on the other hand are required to complete a similar form that a pawn shop would have someone fill out. This discourages the sale of stolen property and says to both owner and seller that they are engaging in a legal and lawful transaction.

The paperwork is filed with the state attorney general. In addition, we also provide a description of the material to be refined. Also recorded are the person’s identification (such as a driver’s license) and a photograph of the material. It is then held for 14 days until the approval of the attorney general is given.

Our customers should be aware that these forms need to be completed prior to processing and receiving their settlement.

This paperwork is a necessary safety precaution to protect people and discourage dealing in stolen property. The reason owes itself to the very chemical component of precious materials like gold. Gold is very easy to be laundered and it’s very easy to move between countries. Since it can be melted down, tracking stolen gold could be difficult, if not impossible. Therefore, safeguards are needed to prevent law-breaking.

Advanced Chemical works very hard to be compliant in all of our transactions. Our reputation means everything in our business and the ability to follow our paper trails and prove that we are operating ethically and legally is how we will continue to operate.

For you, it means keeping the rules of the game fair so that you get top dollar for the items you choose to refine. We mentioned above that the formwork is similar to a pawn shop. What is different is the value that you realize on your property. For example, if you were to turn in a gold and silver necklace at a pawnshop, they may give you $100 for it — just by ‘eyeballing’ it. At Advanced Chemical, we extract all of the valuable metal and give you a check for the full value, which will likely be more than a pawnshop would offer. Again, the rules favor you when they are honored and played fairly. That’s how we operate!

If you have any questions about the paperwork or legal process involved in refining precious materials, contact our experts. They will be happy to help you with your paperwork or answer any questions you may have.