16 August 2017

PLAURUM increases the market share of technogenic wastes recycling on Russian market

Ekaterinburg Non-Ferrous Metals Processing Plant (EZOCM), the key enterprise of the international PLAURUM Group), has summed up the year end performance results of the industrial facility for sampling, concentration and processing of technogenic material with a low content of precious metals. It consists of two units for sampling of technogenic materials, as well as a plasma smelting furnace, which was commissioned in July 2016 on the Metallurgist Day. During the year, it processed about 200 tons of material, mainly spent industrial catalysts of petrochemical plants, containing Platinum and Rhenium. In course of the next two years this volume is to beconsiderably increased.

«The first six months after the commissioning were a transition period from trial operation of the plasma furnace to industrial production. The personnel have undergone the necessary training and acquired operating experience in handling the equipment, and verification of all the process parameters has been completed. The main work load on the equipment occurred in 2017 as these 200 tons were actually processed during the first 5 months of the year. Now the furnace is working cyclically, three days a week. This operating schedule is manned by 2 shifts of smelting furnace operators. Until the end of the year, we are also planning on processing up to 200 tons of material," said Vladimir Bogdanov, General Director of Recycling MPG, Ltd (subsidiary of EZOCM, which is operating the facility).
For comparison, the plasma smelting plant allows 1,000 tons of material to be processed annually. This is its design throuhput. EZOCM is planning to reach this level by the end of 2019. As Vladimir Bogdanov pointed out, certain constraints are imposed by the market of «poor» technogenic material itself. Enterprises of the petrochemical industry periodically place tenders for sale of spent catalysts and each time such a bid is announced, there is a fierce competition.

«There is a number of other metallurgical enterprises that started to operate in this market before us and that also own technologies of processing «poor» technogenic material. However, our competitive advantage is a fundamentally new processing technology that differs in a shorter cycle and much higher percentage of precious metal recovery," explained Bogdanov.

According to Denis Borovkov, General Director of EZOCM, the key task of the enterprise for the next two years is to obtain new quantities of spent catalysts, as well as to diversify sources of material.

«Our production facility can concentrate and process any technogenic material, starting from the tailings of mining enterprises and metallurgical facilities and ending with pre-owned electronic microcircuits. We have already gained the capability of accurate analysis of content and concentration potential of such types of wastes: July 2017 saw the opening of an engineering center at the enterprise with a unique laboratory equipped with all the required process techniques and methods. Now we need to constantly expand access to such material in order to take it for recycling, indicated Denis Borovkov.

It bears reminding that the commissioning of the plasma smelting process last year was the final milestone of the four- year strategic project of EZOCM and its subsidiaries, EZOCM-ENGINEERING LLC and MPG-Recycling, Ltd, for the setting-up of a major production facility to recover precious metals from «poor» materials of mineral and technogenic origin.

Previously, in 2015, the line for sampling and sample preparation of mineral material, as well as the fire assay laboratory were commissioned to analyze the precious metals content in these samples. The equipment of the facility was custom-built according to theprojects developed by EZOCM-ENGINEERING LLC and as of today is unique in the domestic industry of precious metal production.

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