A Field Guide to Platinum and Other Precious Metal Scrap

If you’ve ever walked around an old industrial site hunting for precious metal scrap, you know that the search can be overwhelming. You examine heaps of dirt, piles of chemicals hiding in the bushes, old steel drums that contain dried or wet sediment, streams where chemicals and byproducts were once deposited, and all kinds of other places that could be hiding precious metal scrap. And when you’re done, you come away with very little.

Although you cannot identify most precious metal scrap just by looking at it, here’s a quick visual guide to some of the materials that can often be refined profitably in our precious metals refinery.

Shown: scrap silver turnings one of our customers sent to Specialty Metals to be recycled and refined profitably.

Shown: scrap silver turnings one of our customers sent to Specialty Metals to be recycled and refined profitably.

Little Metal Curlicues and Lathe Scrap

These scraps, which look like thin little coiled springs or worms, are found in old businesses where lathes were used to fabricate round metal pieces. Depending on the kind of metal that was being machined, they can be well worth recycling. Call us at 800-426-2344 and we’ll test them for you and determine their value.

Metal Shavings and Powders

If you’re touring a site where precious metals were shaped with grinders, milling machines or even handheld files, valuable powders can be left behind. They are often mixed with dirt, sand and other chemicals and can be sitting in corners, drains, ventilating and heating units, and even under floorboards. If you come across metallic or other powders and you don’t know what they are, we can tell you.

Shown: Platinum sponges like these contain a high percentage of pure platinum which Specialty Metals can profitably recycle for your company. Image Courtesy of ChemicalReagent.com

Shown: Platinum sponges like these contain a high percentage of pure platinum which Specialty Metals can profitably recycle for your company. Image Courtesy of ChemicalReagent.com

Old Platinum Sponges and Filters

Used platinum sponge that is left over from plating and chemical processes doesn’t look at all like platinum. It looks more like black powder. But don’t be fooled. Even the most worthless-looking platinum sponge scrap can be worth a great deal of money if it is processed by a qualified precious metal refinery.

Sand and Powdered Chemicals

Many kinds of industries (including paint manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, photo processing and more) produce sands and powders that contain silver, platinum, cadmium, chromium and other chemicals that can be recycled profitably. One clue that you might have found something worth testing? It simply looks different from the soil that surrounds it, or it has an unusual color. Scoop up a sample and call us at 800-426-2344 to find out how to have it tested.

Shown: Photo of electroplating tank scrap that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for the recycling of precious metals at the best prices.

Shown: Photo of electroplating tank scrap that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for the recycling of precious metals at the best prices.

Plating Tanks, Pipes and Filters

Old tanks – as well as the pipes and filters that are attached to them – often contain quantities of silver and even gold that can be extracted. Remember that even though sediment and tarnish might look dull, silver and gold plating tank scrap could be anything but worthless.

Little Tips, Bars and Globs of Melted Metal

Chances are pretty good that those items are left over from welding or brazing operations – and that they contain silver and possibly other precious metals too. They might not look like much, but their value can surprise you.

Can you tell just from looking if this contains gold, silver, platinum or other precious metals? We don't either - that's why at Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners we test your samples before doing anything.

Can you tell just from looking if this contains gold, silver, platinum or other precious metals? We don't either - that's why at Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners we test your samples before doing anything.

Sediments and Dried Chemicals

Sometimes you’ll find metal-bearing sediment accumulated on the ground, in old drains or drainage channels, or even by streams where it was allowed to run off. You can also find dried chemical sediments in old steel drums or tubs. You might not know what it is just to look at it. It could be worth a lot more than you expect, so be sure to call us at 800-426-2344 and speak to one of our precious metals recycling consultants. When you call, mention our blog and ask about free or discounted shipping on some samples that we accept for testing.

Related Posts:

Why Recycling Plating Tank Scrap Can Pay You More than You Expect 
3 Things You Probably Never Knew about Platinum Sponges 
Why It Pays to Have Mining Ores Analyzed for Precious Metals 
A Commercial Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Finding Precious Metals in Buildings