JM was founded on the expertise of Percival Norton Johnson in the assaying and refining of precious metals
We recycle enough platinum group metals each year to make millions of catalytic converters
Platinum group metals (pgms) and other metals such as nickel are precious natural resources that we need to look after and use carefully. They are important in many applications like emissions control, 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, from our heritage in different catalysts.
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 lithium-ion 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.