Difficult Material

Mastermelt are experts at extracting precious metals from difficult material. Our Technical Centre in Stevenage was established to specifically develop new and innovative methods of reclaiming precious metals from post manufacturing waste streams, using state-of the-art equipment and staffed by specialists in precious metal chemistry and recovery. 


Working collaboratively with customers, we create a process to treat technically, environmentally, or financially difficult materials. First, we test the material to analyse its behaviour under various conditions, identify the best method of recycling, and determine its precious metal content.


We then agree indicative refining terms and the economics of the recovery. The final step is often a pilot scale trial to prove the recovery route before processing the full quantity of material.

Support is available from our Regulatory Team for the transportation of hazardous materials requiring a Transfrontier Shipment Notification (TFS).

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Recycling difficult material successes:

Examples of recycling innovation achieved through trials and tests at laboratory and production scale include

Engineering of a chemical treatment process and specialised equipment for aerospace materials, virtually eliminating previous loss of superalloy base metal and with enhanced recovery of platinum.

Utilisation of distillation and scavenger technologies for separation of platinum group metals (PGMs) from solvent-based homogenous catalysts, which would otherwise have required disposal as hazardous waste.

Removal of PGM coatings from electrodes using an innovative non-destructive process which enables re-use of the electrode and recovery of the PGMs.

What is a difficult material?

A material is considered difficult or complex if recovery through traditional reclamation processes is problematic or not economically viable due to the material matrix or physical properties. Products that are classified as having difficult materials are:

  • Homogeneous catalysts
  • Insoluble precious metals
  • Precious metal coating
  • Low concentration precious metal heterogeneous or homogeneous catalysts

If you have difficult materials, then contact us to find out if we have a process to recover the precious metal within it.