Refining Basics
Pease & Curren


Precious Metals Refining Do's and Don'ts 


1. Visit your refiner. Evaluate their operation. They should be willing to show you the entire plant. There are very few secrets in the refining business. Do they actually refine your material in their own plant or are they a broker? Can they show you pure bars of gold and silver with their hallmark? Check the lab to see if it has modern instrumentation.

2. Watch a few of your lots being melted and prepared for sampling. If you are not confident that the refiner's employees have the training and skill to handle your material properly, go elsewhere.

3. Check to be sure that the refiner is environmentally sound and is in full compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations. This will protect you from future liability or regulatory action. Remember, if the refiner improperly disposes of your waste, you are responsible, according to federal regulations.

4. Get a financial report from Dun and Bradstreet and a bank reference. Ask for a letter describing their insurance coverage of your metal during shipment and in their plant.

5. Segregate your scrap and keep records. Compare each return with previous shipments to develop a history of shipments and be able to predict what your returns should be. Investigate any major variations. Over time, you will be able to fairly accurately predict your settlements from similar shipments.

6. Try to eliminate as much extraneous material from your scrap before shipping and try to ship in reasonable amounts. It makes no sense to pay the refiner to process such things as rusty files and bottle caps, and it also prevents you from getting a good idea of exactly what you are shipping.

7. Consider having the refiner return your precious metals in usable form rather than paying you for them at settlement time. If the refiner cannot provide them in the form you need, they can ship them to your usual supplier for conversion. It eliminates the extra step of purchasing the metal again, and many of our retail customers have their gold returned in the form of coins- American Eagle, Maple Leaf, or one-ounce Swiss Ingots.


1. Ship to a refiner just because he has a truck in your area. Reliable shippers such as UPS, Federal Express, and even the USPS can take registered shipments up to 75 pounds and $25,000 in value and can usually get the shipment to your refiner faster.

2. Sell your scrap to a broker who estimates its value and pays you cash. His margin more than exceeds the money you'd save by cheating Uncle Sam on your income tax.

3. Hold your refinings because you think the prices of precious metals are going up. Have your metals refined and held by the refiner or returned to you, because it is easier to sell the pure product quickly than to market the unknown scrap.

4. Mix precious metals unnecessarily. Refiners have minimum percentage amounts for payment of each metal, and you will receive better settlements if you ship the metals separately whenever possible.

5. Rejoice if you receive a much larger return than you expected in your floor sweeps or sinks. It is usually an indication that your plant is performing inefficiently since waste should be kept to a minimum and collected at the tool, bench, or polishing tanks.

Excellent Refiners

Hoover & Strong (VA)
Geib Refining (RI)
Pease & Curren (RI)


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