Please recycle gold and silver- KMG Gold

KMG•GOLD Gold Buyers Green Recycling Costs

Precious Metals Recycling Facts

All of the metals we recycle go into a gas furnace where they are melted down and poured into ingots. These ingots contain a mixture of the purity from the various pieces that went into the melt.

Silver is a good example for discussing the costs involved in recycling. Sterling silver is supposed to be 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. After all, the pieces are all stamped 925, so they must be Sterling. This is rarely the case, even with the finest pieces from the finest jewelers. Profit margins and cost-cutting have resulted in most Sterling pieces containing less silver and more copper and in some cases, alloy manufacturers are including other metals besides silver and copper. When these items are melted in the furnace, some of these metals boil off. They evaporate. Silver has a melting point of around 960 degrees Celsius and boils at around 2160 degrees Celsius. Zinc, lead, and indium all have a sufficiently low boiling point so they will vapourize during the melt.

Suppose we recycle 1000 grams of 925 cleaned silver scrap jewelry with no stones. We should be able to make an ingot that weighs almost exactly 1000 grams that returns an assay of 92.5% Ag. However, this is never case. The energy costs to melt the silver can be up to 2.5 percent, so our ingot now weighs 975 grams. Silver melts typically result in a mass loss of 1.5 percent from the zinc and lead volatilization, so our 1000 gram ingot now weighs 960 grams.

Now we assay the ingot to see how much pure silver it contains. It should assay at 92.5%. This, again, is never the case. Even scrap jewelry from the finest retailers, once melted will assay less than 92.5% Ag. In fact, the assay results from silver melts may be as much as 10% less than expected. Now our 1000 gram ingot is 960 grams containing 82.5% Ag making its effective weight 792 grams.

Now we have to sell our 792 gram ingot of silver. A person cannot simply walk into their local Bank or Credit Union and sell a bar of silver. We must find a precious metals agent who, of course, takes a percentage of the silver for themselves. This may be as much as 4% plus a percentage fee charged on the Canadian dollar exchange.

So our 1000 grams of recycled silver scrap jewelry has been turned into a 758 gram ingot of pure silver; a worst case scenario loss of over 166 grams of silver.

Common recycling losses
  • Melt/assay charges: up to 5%
  • Mass losses: up to 5%
  • Assay drops: up to 20%
  • Settlement fees: up to 7%

Platinum recycling costs are substantially higher than the example listed above, second only to rhodium.