Financing for precious metal recovery

A UK-based clean-technology company has received £3.5m in financing to further develop its technology for recovering precious metals from process, waste and effluent streams.

Phosphonics secured the financing through a second round of investments led by Seventure Partners and backers Regents Park Partners, a London Business School venture capital fund and private investors.

The Abingdon-based company plans to use the capital to fund the global market development of a range of precious metal catalyst recovery products. Currently, very expensive metals such as platinum, rhodium and palladium are lost in dilute, low-parts-per-million waste streams.

These metals are used extensively as catalysts in the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients and fine chemicals.

David Astles, chief executive of Phosphonics, said that the technology comes into play at the back end of chemical processes when small traces of metal catalysts are flushed away through effluence streams.

These streams are pumped through large industrial filters that contain columns filled with a solid-state material based on silica. Phosphonics was able to develop this material through a proprietary chemistry method.

According to Astles, this silica product is capable of capturing small traces of these metals.

’Once we have captured the precious metals onto our solid materials, we ship that loaded material to a precious metal refiner, who strips the precious metal off our products and gets them back to their pure state,’ he said.

Phosphonics is marketing its scavenging technology for a variety of industrial customers, such as metal refiners and the pharmaceutical, fine and speciality chemical industries.