Comprehensive and unique set-up based on innovative chemistry and metallurgy
Our recycling operations are basically streamlined along two processes:
The Precious Metals Operations (PMO) focus on fast throughput and maximized yields at optimized cost. They are fully tuned for the efficient refining of an extended range of complex and valuable raw materials, containing precious metals.
The Base Metals Operations (BMO) focus on flexibly processing by-products from the PMO at the lowest possible cost and with optimal throughput times. Both PMO and BMO enhance the basic success factors of our business model: flexibility, reliability and complexity.
Major investments have been completed, to develop, install and run new chemical and metallurgical operations, completely shifting Hoboken's focus from concentrates to recyclable materials and industrial by-products. In other words, over the past decade a completely renewed plant has been built on site.
Our processes are based on complex lead/copper/nickel metallurgy, using these base metals as collectors for precious metals and other metals, so called "impurities", such as antimony, bismuth, tin, selenium, tellurium and indium. The main advantage of our innovated plant is increased productivity, combined with greater efficiency, which results in maximized metal recovery rates and generating optimum precious metals yields.
The main processing steps of the Precious Metals Operations are the smelter, the copper leaching and electrowinning plant and the precious metals refinery. The operations are designed in such a way that raw materials can enter the flowsheet at the most optimal process step, determined by their physical aspect, their analytical fingerprint and their (precious metals) value.
The smelter furnace (first step in the Precious Metals Operations) uses the Isa smelt, submerged lance combustion technology. This involves injecting oxygen enriched air and fuel in a molten bath. Umicore is the only company to apply this technology on such a large scale with such a variety of materials. The smelter separates precious metals in a copper bullion, from mostly all other metals, concentrated in a lead slag, further treated at the Base Metals Operations.
After leaching out the copper in the leaching and electrowinning plant, the precious metals are collected in a residue that is further refined at the precious metals refinery. Our precious metals refinery combines classical methods (cupellation) with unique in-house developed processes (silver refinery), to enable Hoboken to treat all possible variations and ratios of precious metals (silver and gold) and platinum group metals (platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium and ruthenium).
Collaborating with Allianz Nefteprodukt means working with some of most efficient and organized marketers in the industry. Their flexibility and quick turnaround makes them a highly valued partner. Allianz Nefteprodukt has been a great partner to us. They are always open for bold trials and suggestions, be it new models, geos or offers. Being so open minded and keeping us in line with their strategy has allowed us to be significant pillars to each otherís growth.