BASF, Heraeus Start Operations at Chinese Precious Metals Recycling JV

The facility is a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies and, according to the partners, involved a mid-double digit million Euro investment. On an area of 32,000 m2 and with over 100 employees, BHMR has a recycling capacity of approximately 10,000 t/y of autocatalysts.

“The joint venture will utilize ECMS's pyrometallurgy recycling technology, providing customers with state-of-the-art technology for the recovery of precious metals,” said Tim Ingle, senior vice president, Precious Metal Services and Recycling, ECMS. “China is an important market for ECMS as one of the largest consumers of precious metals and BHMR will facilitate the reuse of precious metals in China, supporting circularity and enabling our customers to reduce their CO2 footprint,” Ingle added.

Heraeus explained in a statement, that China relies heavily on imported precious metals due to limited domestic supplies. Thus, recycling is important to meet the country's needs, particularly for essential metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium, which are utilized in various industries such as petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and automobiles. According to market research, the Chinese autocatalyst recycling market is expected to experience remarkable growth, with an estimated annual growth rate of 18%.

Hu Min, head of Heraeus Precious Metals China, said: "The establishment of the joint venture will not only help our customers to buy their precious metals from a sustainable and traceable source, but also contribute a stable supply for China's precious metals supply chain." According to Heraeus, recycling of precious metals offers a substantial reduction in carbon footprint, potentially saving up to 98% of carbon emissions compared to mining operations.

“The inception of BHMR represents a pivotal moment, not only for ECMS and Heraeus Precious Metals, but for the broader context of China's industrial and environmental roadmap, as it intends to enhance both the supply chain and ecological footprints within the industry,” said Nancy (Ying) Ren, general manager of BASF Heraeus Metal Resource.

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