Grains of platinum

Pgms and specialist metallurgy

We're a world leader in pgms (platinum group metals) and specialist metallurgy, with over 200 years' experience dealing with precious metals products and chemicals.

Then

1817

JM was founded on the expertise of Percival Norton Johnson in the assaying and refining of precious metals

 
Now

2021

We recycle enough platinum group metals each year to make millions of catalytic converters

Platinum group metals (pgms) and other metals such as nickel and cobalt are precious natural resources that we need to look after and use carefully. They are important in many applications like emission control, battery materials, fuel cells, industrial process chemistry, corrosion protection, medical implants and jewellery. So, developing methods to recover and purify these precious metals from a diverse range of sources means we can continue to use them.

What are pgms?

There are six transition metals, which share similar properties, that are known as the platinum group metals or pgms. They are:

  • Platinum (Pt)
  • Palladium (Pd)
  • Ruthenium (Ru)
  • Rhodium (Rh)
  • Iridium (Ir)
  • Osmium (Os)

As well as pgms, JM has expertise in other metals, including nickel and cobalt, from our heritage in different catalysts. We’re now using this knowledge to develop eLNO® – our family of advanced cathode materials, for the automotive industry.

mufflers and catalytic converters for recycling

What is metallurgy?

Metallurgy is the scientific study of the chemistry and physical properties of metals, intermetallic compounds and alloys, and is used for extraction, production, purification and fabrication of these materials.

 

Recycling and refining


We are the world’s largest recycler of pgms. Our pgm recycling activities rely on our deep knowledge of material science, chemistry, speciation, pyrometallurgy, advanced hydrometallurgy processing and analytical science. With this, we have developed a suite of accurate, advanced and efficient processes for measuring, extracting and separating pgms from waste materials including spent process catalysts, autocatalysts, fuel cell catalysts, secondary mine residues and jewellery or scrap metal.

As well as being the world’s largest recycler of pgms, we’re one of the only companies able to refine pgms to market-grade sponge (a powdered form of a pgm often used to manufacture pgm chemicals and catalysts), including iridium and ruthenium, and can accommodate feeds containing gold and silver.

 

 

Circularity and sustainability


We offer closed loop recycling - when a pgm-containing catalyst reaches the end of its useful life, our customers can return it to us to extract the valuable metals. We then use this extracted pgm to produce a new catalyst, enabling a circular economy as well as greatly reducing the cost of replacement. 

We are now transferring this recycling expertise to other critical raw materials including cobalt, nickel and lithium as we work to develop a circular economy for our battery materials. 

 

 

Developing and improving novel materials


But it’s not all about recycling. Through our research we continue to deepen our understanding of pgms and their chemistry, handling, formulation, solubility and reactivity. This allows us to constantly improve our products and develop new materials, as we predict the behaviour of precious metals and determine under what conditions they work best. We‘re also finding more efficient and less expensive ways to make pgm-containing components, by fabricating them from powders using techniques such as injection moulding or 3D printing.

 

Read more

Innovation

Johnson Matthey to improve the sustainability of Li-ion battery manufacturing with partners OnTo Technology and UKBIC

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Corporate

JM partners with Stena Recycling Group on sustainable, circular solution for lithium ion battery recycling

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Innovation

Johnson Matthey and Sibanye-Stillwater form a strategic partnership to secure critical metals and accelerate new technologies for a low carbon future

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Innovation

Pgm Market Report: May 2020

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Innovation

Pgm Market Report: February 2020

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Insights

The elements of business

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Precious-metals

Products and services

View our precious metal products

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Article

Johnson Matthey to improve the sustainability of Li-ion battery manufacturing with partners OnTo Technology and UKBIC

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Metal refining

Video

Watch our video on pgm refining for more information

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