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Epmf brochure

gold market analysis

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Epmf brochure

  1. 1. Precious Metalsmaking our world a better place
  2. 2. Table of Contents The European precious metals industry 4 One world, our world. Let’s sustain it 8 Exceptional Properties 12 Here, There, Everywhere 14 It’s about Saving Lives 16 It’s about the Future 18 Contact 202
  3. 3. Melting of precious metal containing scrap and other complex streams 3
  4. 4. The European Precious Metals Industry Europe boasts the most extensive refining and manufacturing capacity for precious metals in the world. Members of this industry – from the smallest to the largest – contribute to the well-being and sustainable development of European society and in many more respects than generally thought. The European Precious Metals Federation Following several years of low profile activity, twelve well known European precious metal (PM) companies and national associations have steered the foundation of the European Precious Metals Federation (EPMF a.i.s.b.l.) as an international non-profit association registered under the Law of Belgium. The federation represents the interests of its Members vis-à-vis the European authorities on several topics of relevance for the sector such as the safety of chemicals and waste management; access to raw materials, re- cycling and sustainability; energy and climate change; trade, customs, tax and competitiveness; etc. Gathering the experience, the knowledge and the expertise of industrial and regulatory specialists of the PM sector is achieved by establishing a cooperation network, and where necessary, form alliances, with organisations such as Eurométaux (of which EPMF is a Member), the International Platinum Group Metals Association (IPA) and other associations with whom EPMF shares common goals and values. By informing its Members on the evolving European regulatory landscape, the EPMF is able to prepare, with the contribution and support of its Members, common position and/or response statements and strategies to specific situations or questions. The promulgation or implementation of these then strengthen the presence of the PM industry in the relevant scientific, socio- economic, political and environmental debates and raise public and authorities’ awareness of PM and the PM industry, while promoting compliance of the PM sector towards EU regulations.4
  5. 5. Platinum grains and bars 5
  6. 6. Supporting all industries any raw materials containing precious metals, from Beyond jewellery and gold coins, the European Precious the most simple to the most complex. The substan- Metals Industry designs and produces a wide array of tial amount of precious metals contained in the scrap materials, industrial components and chemicals that and residues our consumer society generates can be facilitate the production of – or are part of – thou- almost entirely reprocessed by the industry to preserve sands of products that form the fabric of our economy. our planet’s resources. These products significantly improve our health, our environment, our everyday life and safety, and the Maintaining dialogue competitiveness of scores of industries. The precious metals industry maintains a constructive dialogue with the European authorities in all areas of Thanks to its sustained research efforts, technological policy and legislation of relevance to the sector. This expertise and innovative spirit, the European Precious dialogue is steered directly by the EPMF secretariat, its Metals Industry strives to meet and exceed the chal- officers, delegates and Members as well as indirectly, by lenges posed by legislative developments, particularly Eurométaux, the Brussels-based European Association on the environmental and consumer health and safety for Non-Ferrous Metals of which the EPMF is a Member. fronts. In so doing, the Precious Metals Industry en- ables many other industries – automotive, aerospace, Leaders in fabrication and petro-chemical among others – to meet increas- Although Europe does not have significant mining ingly stringent environmental standards. sources of precious metals, it plays a major role in product fabrication: Preventing waste The European Precious Metals Industry is unique in The European precious metals industry has a two its ability to recycle, refine and generally optimise hundred year history of innovation and global lead- Emission control catalysts are coated with precious metals6
  7. 7. Though precious metals have many industrial uses, they are usually known for their uses in jewelleryEurope’s Share of Gold Silver Platinum PalladiumWorld Mine Production 1% 8% 0% 0%World Scrap Supply 12% 23% 25% 30%World Product Fabrication 14% 21% 40% 20%ership in advanced materials technology. Employing including the reduction in pollution and the improve-more than 30 000 highly skilled workers across the ment of health. The industry has comprehensive recy-European Union, the sector makes a critical contribu- cling capability and the ability to establish true sus-tion to global market supply chains for these strategi- tainability in a world of diminishing natural resources.cally important materials.European precious metals technology is the definingsolution for many of the world’s pressing problems 7
  8. 8. One World, our Own. Let’s Sustain it The Precious Metals Industry is committed to preserving our planet’s resources and respecting its envi- ronment: by taking the lead in developing technologies that significantly reduce carbon monoxide, hyd- rocarbons and other toxic emissions; by helping electronics manufacturers develop devices that use less energy; by helping builders implement more energy-saving features in their constructions; and finally by ensuring, to the best of its abilities, that all scrap containing precious metals is appropriately recycled. The industry’s concerted effort to recover most or all of the precious metal content in waste materials consu- med by end-users or generated by other industries has, over the decades, sharpened its understanding of key environmental issues. The European Precious Metals Industry, represented efficiency of industrial processes, and enhancing by the European Precious Metals Federation (EPMF), medical technology to improve health care. The EPMF unanimously supports the principles of sustainability. Member companies invest in the research and devel- EPMF Member companies have aligned their activities opment of applications using precious metals that and products so that they contribute to the welfare contribute to sustainable development, and into the of people today whilst minimizing impacts on future ongoing training of our employees. generations. The industry is making every effort to adopt environmentally, socially and financially respon- …improving eco-efficiency sible business practices. The EPMF Member companies continuously improve the eco-efficiency of metallurgical processes and of The EPMF commits to: the products made thereof. Manufacturing precious metals out of a recycling process – so-called “urban …creating sustainable and meaningful economic mining” – guarantees that these valuable resources growth are re-used and that the demand for primary mining Precious Metals have unique properties that make with its environmental impacts is limited. Furthermore, them highly valuable for society. They are indispens- the industry is continuously developing technical so- able materials that enable innovation and technical lutions that allow a reduction in the use of precious progress, environmental protection and energy saving, metals in applications while maintaining their proper and thereby enhance the quality of life. Precious met- functioning. als are highly recyclable which means that they can be recovered when a product containing these materials …communicating Precious Metals as showpieces has reached the end of its useful life. They are compo- of a natural life cycle nents which once having come to light from under- Precious metals are one of the treasures of our planet. ground can be re-used time and time again. After being mined they are processed into products that make our life modern, pleasant, sound in mind …looking at economy as a whole and body, valuable or simply beautiful. Old precious Like all materials precious metals consume resources metals can be recycled and given a new life. Precious when being produced: land, water, energy, capital, Metals once having brightened up the neck of a beau- and labour. However, within the continuous life cycle tiful woman may be today used in electronic circuits, in of precious metals these costs are counterbalanced by CD-ROMs, in glasses or in pacemakers. the benefits they have on individual lives, the environ- ment, as well as on technical progress. These benefits …focussing on ethical business practices include auto-catalysts that help to reduce emissions The high value of Precious Metals requires a special from gasoline and diesel engines, improving energy focus on ethical business practices. EPMF Members8
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. uphold fundamental human rights and respect cul- Examples of sustainable solutions: tures, customs and values in dealing with employees and others who are affected by our activities. The Pollution control Precious Metals ethical principles engage employees, For over 35 years, autocatalysts containing platinum business partners, customers, and all people directly or group metals have proven the most effective way to indirectly affected by our operations. Our understand- tackle pollution generated by all types of petrol and ing of ethical behaviour covers especially the areas of diesel vehicles. Autocatalysts eliminate 98% of harm- health, environment, safety, labour, taxation, and the ful emissions from engine exhausts; without them, the prohibition of anti-competitive practices. average family car would emit 15 tonnes of polluting gases over a 10-year life span. …standing up for equal opportunities The Member companies of EPMF respect the rules of Ongoing advances in autocatalyst technology have free and fair competition. We also expect our business helped auto manufacturers meet increasingly stringent partners to abide by the same principles. Equal oppor- emission standards, keeping pollution in check despite tunities comprise social responsibility, the ban of child the ever-growing number of cars on our roads. labour and hard labour, no tolerance towards discrimi- nation of employees and other people. The precious metals industry also contributes to pollution control from stationary sources, such as …initiating open discussions with stakeholders factories, through the manufacture of catalysts which The EPMF and its Members are always looking for remove pollutants and odours from a variety of indus- proactive solutions that contribute to sustainable trial processes. development. Therefore we aim to engage partners throughout the precious metals value chain: govern- Energy savings ments, local and global communities, environmental The gold, palladium and silver found in electronic and social non-governmental organizations, employ- devices ensure that they reliably make contact even ees, customers, suppliers, media and other stakehold- after 1 million operations and that they do not over- ers in constructive dialogues to learn about their ex- heat or waste energy. The layer of silver coating used pectations. on industrial glass reflects heat radiation. Electronics scrap waiting for recycling10
  11. 11. Over 90% of solar panels rely on silver conductorsThis keeps out nearly 95% of the sun’s rays and also Today, the European Precious Metals Industry boastscurtails heat loss through windows in wintertime. the most comprehensive and technologicallyThis heat reflection translates into huge savings by advanced refining facilities in the world. Virtuallyreducing energy demand for housing and heating as all end-of-life products and production scrap contain-well as air-conditioning needs in buildings and cars. ing precious metals can be successfully and eco- nomically refined. Recoveries exceed 95% and, de-Over 90% of solar panels used today rely on silver pending on the type of material, often surpass 99%.conductors to activate the generation of electricity. Not only is the efficient recovery and recycling of precious metals essential to the economics of theOne of the main devices required for the production industry, it also preserves the world’s natural re-of glass wool – widely used for thermal insulation sources by significantly reducing the need for addi-purposes – consists of a platinum alloy. tional new metal.Recycling Moreover, the recovery of precious metals helpsPrecious metals are unique raw materials. They can maintain the health of the environment. Thebe reprocessed over and over again without this Precious Metals Industry encourages this by helpingever impairing their qualities or performance. The fact dozens of industries develop appropriate collectionthat they are as scarce as they are valuable has histori- processes.cally driven the need to recycle and re-use them. 11
  12. 12. Gold bar and silver granules12
  13. 13. Exceptional PropertiesGold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals.It is routinely alloyed with other metals to render itharder, particularly in the jewellery, dental and elec-trical arenas. Chemically stable, gold does not cor-rode or tarnish and remains an excellent conductorof heat and electricity.Silver remains the best electrical and thermalconductor of all metals but, unlike gold, it tarnisheseasily. Slightly harder than gold, and with a lowermelting point, silver responds in such a way that itguarantees the broadest range of applications.Silver’s high reflectivity ensures its use in mirrors,and the unique photo-reactive nature of its chemicalsguarantees its application in photographic products.Platinum is also an excellent conductor and is mal-leable enough to be worked into fine wires andintricate shapes. Platinum’s high melting point andresistance to corrosion allows it to maintain its per-formance in even the most demanding operating con-ditions, making it an unmatched high temperatureconstruction material. Also an exceptional catalyst,platinum is widely used to promote chemical reac-tions between other substances.Palladium shares most of platinum’s properties de-spite its lower density and melting point. It is mostwidely used as a catalyst in car exhaust convertersand in the chemical industry.Extremely corrosion resistant and boasting high meltingpoints, iridium, rhodium and ruthenium also presentunique properties making them suitable for scores ofcritical catalytic and industrial applications. 13
  14. 14. Here, There, Everywhere From the alarm clock that awakens us, to the light switch we flip on. From the catalysts that reduce our cars’ noxious emissions, to the mobile phone that connects us to our peers. Precious metals are active in every aspect of our life. Every day, we unknowingly rely on them to work, travel, communicate and improve our life. Here are but a few examples. Electronic circuits Photography Electronic components – connectors, contacts, printed Photographic film is coated with silver halide, which circuit boards – are plated with a thin layer of gold undergoes a photochemical reaction when exposed or palladium that helps dissipate heat and maintains to light. The images are developed onto photographic the electrical properties of electrical junctions, as well paper, also coated with silver halide. as the performance of the device in which they are integrated. Glass Due to their high melting points and resistance to Electrical switches corrosion by molten glass, platinum-rhodium alloys Many electrical components — switches, contacts, re- are used in fabrication of speciality glasses used in lays and circuit breakers — boast silver tips to ensure display technologies and decorative glassware. the quality of the electrical contacts. Construction Electrical devices The ultra-strong brazing joints found in industrially The electrode layers used in 15% of the world’s engineered structures contain silver, as do photo­ ceramic capacitors – essential to the functioning of sensitive windows, routinely used in office buildings. cars, phones, computers, TVs and even aircraft – are Platinum-rhodium alloys are used in the manufac- made with a palladium-silver paste. ture of insulating and reinforcement glass fibre Dentistry Cancer therapies Durable and non-toxic, gold, platinum and palladi- Platinum is an active constituent in a range of drugs um are used in a variety of dental applications. used in cancer treatment. Music and data Medical devices Both silver and gold are present in CD-ROMs. Their The excellent biocompatibility of platinum, combined superior reflectivity allows for a greater density of in- with its radio-opacity ensures its extensive use in life formation storage and guarantees high-quality restitu- saving cardiovascular implants such as defibrillators tion of data. Computer hard disks are coated with thin and pacemaker electrodes. layers of platinum and ruthenium that increase their data storage capacity.14
  15. 15. Components for pacemakers are made of Platinum-Iridium alloysCar safety and reliability of industries owe their existence to the unique cata-Our cars’ fuel injection system, airbag inflation devices lytic properties of platinum, palladium, ruthenium,and spark plugs all rely on the properties of platinum, iridium and rhodium.palladium and iridium. Fuel CellsVehicle exhausts Platinum and ruthenium are used in fuel cell elec-The catalytic properties of platinum, palladium and trodes. This clean technology that combines hydrogenrhodium are successfully harnessed to convert our and oxygen to produce electricity is finding applica-cars’ and trucks’ harmful emissions – carbon monox- tions in battery chargers, residential combined heat &ide, hydrocarbons oxides of nitrogen and soot – into power units, uninterruptible power supplies and fork-non-toxic gases. lift trucks.Basic chemicalsFrom fertilisers to polymers and from sodium hydrox-ide to oil derivatives, the chemicals used by hundreds 15
  16. 16. It’s about Saving Lives Of the myriad applications utilising precious metals, those that improve our health are – ironically – the least publicised. Most people know that gold, thanks to its biocompatibility, functional performance and aesthetic effect, constitutes the basis for the majority of dental alloys. But not everyone realises that it is also present in brain tomography equipment, or platinum in the elec- trode tips and rings of defibrillators, or iridium in radio therapies that retard – and even neutralise – cancerous growth. Precious metals revolutionise Medicine. Preventing cardiac arrest different electronic micro-systems are constantly at Precious metals have made their way deep into our work, unnoticed, in today’s cars. This number will only veins: stents, the small, cylindrical metal gauzes im- multiply in the future. The indispensable, basic ele- planted in cardiovascular patients to dilate arteries – ments for electronic aggregates in our cars contain and prevent heart attacks – are accurately located by innovative and exceptionally precise components. the surgeon thanks to the radio-opacity of gold and Many are made of precious metals. platinum-iridium marker bands which allow the sur- geon to monitor the position of the stent during the Activating airbags placement procedure. Platinum is now used as an al- The ignition wire triggering the automatic inflation of loying element in the stent itself. This delicate proce- a car’s airbag is made from a platinum alloy. dure, during which the stent is threaded on a catheter and then anchored inside the cardiac artery, requires Braking at will continuous X-ray monitoring. The chips and contacts found in a car’s ABS system all contain gold, silver and palladium. Fighting cancer The European Precious Metals Industry has developed Preventing fires pharmaceutically active agents used in manufacturing Smoke detectors, routinely used in millions of house- intravenous solutions to combat certain types of holds, contain a gold alloy placed between layers of cancer. As a result, platinum compounds have now palladium. Domestic and industrial carbon monoxide become an essential contributor to the chemotherapy sensors rely upon the stable electrical resistance of battle against cancer of the testes, ovaries, larynx, ultra-fine platinum wires. bladder and lungs. Since the introduction of platinum- based therapies, the recovery probability for patients Preventing accidents suffering from urological, cervical or ovarian cancer Fuses are routinely used to protect electrical equip- has risen to over 90%. ment from power surges, thereby preventing danger- ous incidents in both domestic and industrial environ- Keeping Us Safe on the Road and at Home ments. Silver alloys, which exhibit unique electrical Our society has evolved to the point where we take and metallurgical properties, are a critical component our cars for granted. What’s more, we expect and as- of most electrical fuses. sume that the cars we buy are safe enough to entrust them with our children’s lives. We forget how intricate Purifying water a car’s safety mechanisms can be, and what a huge Silver is famous for its anti-bacterial effect. During role the minutest microchip can play. Hundreds of sterilisation with silver, the microorganisms contained16
  17. 17. Silver, ruthenium and iridium are used in water cleaning devicesin water – especially bacteria – are destroyed by physi- Swimming Poolscal or chemical means. If standard water supply breaks A modern alternative to keeping swimming pool wa-down, or if facilities are not equipped with adequate ter clean by adding chemicals is to use chlorination bywater supply technology, water silvering can be used electrolysis. These devices use ruthenium and iridiumto prevent the spread of diseases. coatings on their electrodes.Product Precious metal(s) ApplicationsAutomobiles Pt, Pd, Rh Pollution control catalyst Pt, Pd, Ir, Rh Spark plugs Pt Engine control sensors, airbag initiators Pt, Pd, Ru, Ag, Au Electronics for engine management systems Ag Heated rear windows, switches and contactAlmost all consumer Au, Pd, Ag, Ru Numerous applications of one or several preciouselectronics… metals in essential electronic components such asAudio equipment, Mobile multi-layer ceramic capacitors, printed circuit boards,phones, Digital cameras, Televi- resistors, hybrid integrated circuits, etc.sions and video, RecordersEtcHomes and buildings Ag Electrical distribution and switches, fuses, automation switches Pt, Ag Windows, insulation materialCompact disks Au, Ag An essential layer in recordable compact disks (CDR)Computer hard disks Pt Thin layer in computer disks to increase the memory storage capacitJewellery and watches Au, Ag, Pt, Rh Rings, chains, pendants, etc. Ag Silver oxide for button cell batteriesMirrors Ag Silver backing provides reflective propertiesPhotographic supplies Ag Silver-based chemicals are required to produce light sensitive photographic film and paperGlass and ceramic Au, Pt Decorative patterns and finishestablewarePt = Platinum | Pd = Palladium | Rh = Rhodium | Ir = Iridium | Ru = Ruthenium | Au = Gold | Ag = Silver 17
  18. 18. It’s about the Future – Today The Precious Metals Industry is continuously developing new products and technologies to promote the efficient use of energy, improve human health and make personal mobility more convenient, safer and less harmful to the environment. Here are some of the exciting new applications that would not be possible without precious metals. Creating energy generation alternatives cochlear implant. This highly intricate device uses tiny The European Precious Metals Industry is developing platinum electrodes to sense movement of sensory vital components of proton exchange membrane fuel hairs in the cochlear and translates these into mes- cells, an energy generating device producing electricity sages to the brain, creating artificial sound that the from hydrogen and oxygen. These fuel cells produce no patient can “hear” noxious emissions and can be considered as a “clean power” source. Fuel cells not only conserve natural Shrinking electronic devices energy resources such as oil and gas, they also Functional materials containing nanosized particles truly improve energy efficiency. Fuel cells are already of precious metals are helping in the manufacture ever used in auxiliary power supplies for mobile homes, smaller electronic components, which in turn are lead- uninterruptible power supplies and battery chargers. ing to lighter, more functional devices requiring less In the near future, fuel cells could play a significant energy consumption. Nanotechnology in the area part in the development of zero emission vehicles. of computers has already increased performance and memory capacity exponentially. In addition, the poten- Restoring movement tial use of nano-gold particles on smaller and smaller Research in helping paraplegics walk again, or arm microchips opens up a new frontier: electronics on a amputees to grip more naturally with their prosthe- molecular level. ses, has brought forth microsensors that can be implanted in the brain to pick up brain commands Improving laser technology – also known as nervous signals. These are then Single crystals are an integral part of laser technol- forwarded to a microchip probe, implanted in the ogy and crystal growth requires the highest levels of hand or leg, which actually triggers real movement. purity and thermal stability. By virtue of their high The electrodes providing this neurostimulation are melting points and corrosion resistance, unalloyed made of platinum. platinum and especially iridium are highly suitable materials for growing different types of crystals. Overcoming Parkinson’s disease Neurostimulation will soon be used to help patients Moving closer to maintenance-free cars suffering from Parkinson’s syndrome. A matchbox- Platinum and iridium alloys are used as electrode sized stimulation device, implanted under the skin be- tips in new generation long-life spark plugs ex- low the collarbone, generates mild electrical impulses pected to last longer than the life of the vehicle. These which reduce the brain signals that trigger typical Par- electrode tips are highly resistant to corrosion, me- kinson’s symptoms. An electrode, made of platinum chanical deterioration and combustion and are entirely and iridium, is positioned in deeper areas of the brain maintenance-free. and is connected to the larger device. Building super-conductors Hearing for the profoundly deaf Silver will become increasingly sought after to help Patients whose hearing is so impaired that it cannot be reduce the amount of electrical power wasted in improved by conventional hearing aids may receive a electrical cables due to resistance losses. Resistance-18
  19. 19. Mercedes Benz’ latest round-the-world fuel cell cars, applying platinum, palladium and iridium-based technologyfree flow of electrical power, at close to ambient further improvement. The use of a ruthenium alloy intemperatures, can be achieved with multi-filament aircraft turbine blades allows the aircraft’s enginescables that contain super-conducting oxide material to operate at much higher temperatures while burn-integrated into tiny silver tubes. ing fuel more efficiently.Burning fuel more efficientlyToday’s Boeing 747 burns two million tonnes of fuelin its lifetime, demonstrating an obvious need for 19
  20. 20. European Precious Metals FederationAvenue de Broqueville 12B-1150 BrusselsBELGIUMPhone + 32 2 775 63 86Fax + 32 2 779 05 23info@epmf.bewww.epmf.beTo find out more about the EPMF Members, eventsand activities, please visit our websitePhotographies:The photographs in this brochure were madeavailable by courtesy of the Member companiesof the EPMF