Jewellers' Network

MANAGING YOUR SCRAP WITH INTEGRITY

By Cape Precious Metals

Cape Precious Metals is a registered Precious Metal Refinery specialising in the supply and recycling of all precious metals including Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium.

As JCSA members, they strive to set the gold standard in the field by operating within a socially responsible and ethical business framework.

All raw precious metals are sourced from verifiably responsible suppliers and they enforce precise manufacturing standards, which has led to Chain-of-Custody and Code of Practice accreditation through the Responsible Jewellery Council.

Continuous improvement of processes to prevent pollution and minimise waste underlines their commitment to support clean, safe and healthy environments.

By utilising modern techniques they ensure maximum recovery and returns, and all gold, platinum and palladium refined at their facilities has a purity of 99.99%.

CPM has refineries in Cape Town and Germiston, with preparation/melting stations and assay facilities in Durban and Port Elizabeth. All refineries and melting stations undergo Air Emissions and Environmental Audits annually which they pass without fail.

The list of items CPM refines includes jeweller’s sweeps, solutions, polishings, filings, old solids like jewellery, coins, trophies, cutlery, tea sets, and a wide variety of photographic material.

Their Head Office in Cape Town has a division that extracts silver from redundant X-Ray film, generating 999 silver which is alloyed and beneficiated into ready-to-use products for jewellers.

Nationwide, 8 highly trained sales executives advise clients on best practices to get the maximum returns from their scrap, which is collected from all over South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

They are supported by a total staff compliment of 78 (3 of whom have been with the company for over 20 years).

All staff receive on-going training and support and are the backbone of CPM’s success.

Cape Precious Metals views clients as partners and pride themselves on nurturing relationships. Owner and Managing Director Sharon Eades states: “Refining is a process entrusted to us by our clients. We welcome our clients to be present when preparing, melting and scanning their material.”

Tips to make the most out of your high value waste.

Always inventory your scrap by type and by metal and caratage to give you and the refinery a good idea of what yield to expect. For example, the expected yield from a typical floor sweep is around 1% of the original mass, but polishings can be up to 5% of the original mass. Making a habit of separating scrap into these four main categories can substantially increase your efficiency:

Solids: Collect, label and store any large pieces of metal, from wire and plate leftovers to whole unwanted jewellery pieces. These scraps give the highest returns.

Bench sweeps contain a higher concentration of more easily refinable precious metals that yield much higher returns than floor sweeps. Make it a habit to regularly sweep your lap tray as well
as your bench.

Floor Sweeps are low yield material, which necessitate a more involved precious metals extraction process and longer refining times and should be stored separately to bench sweeps.

Sludge: The goop that collects in sink traps, wastewater treatment systems and ultrasonic jewellery cleaners is an overlooked category of refinable material. If you’re not collecting sludge, you could be pouring substantial amounts of money down the drain. This is an easy DIY installation that CPM is happy to advise you on.

Additional pointers:

Be mindful of refiners minimums to avoid unnecessary charges

Refine in batches when the metal price is favourable to you

Placing a carpet or mat inside the entrance of the workshop picks up further dust or wastage.

Keeping accurate records of the metals you work with daily (and carefully separating these) will allow you to anticipate average batch yields over time. (Please note these are guidelines, as not all refining batches are created equal due to environmental and practical factors in your workshop that are not always obvious).