Patent awarded to Pro-Or from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its PGM recovery

Dan Comand
December 08, 2011
Written by
PRO-OR has announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the U.S. intellectual property protection organization affiliated with the United States Department of Commerce has granted a patent for the innovative technological process for the recovery of platinum group metal (PGM) from ore and / or concentrates as PGM-rich used automobile catalytic converters and other.
The upcoming patent will give Pro-Or the rights to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States of America or importing the invention into the USA. The invention being a process, it also gives Pro-Or the same rights for the products (PGM) made with the process.

The advantage of the process lies in the absence of important flotation infrastructure, of energy-intensive smelting and autoclave. The process converts raw materials into highly soluble chlorinated complex into a weakly acidic solution with a low energy intake. The process uses industry standard equipments and chemicals readily available for the reaction. The complete industrial process comprises steps by which the majority of reagents used can be recycled, reused and / or sold. The method includes steps to ensure the removal and safe disposal of residues.

Pro-Or is currently working at its pilot plant with CIR Laboratory to execute the mass balance project for the PGM recovery process. The CIR Laboratory chemical analysis will be completed in three phases to determine the industrial recovery rate of PGM with the current process settings. This data will lead to the completion of our business case.

The potential for PGM recovery from automobile catalytic converters is, to say the least, massive worldwide. For example, in North America alone over the last 4 years, an average 17 million new vehicles were sold each year. These vehicles must be recycled at the end of their life and the residual value of precious metals may be of the order of a few hundred dollars per unit. 

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