At Pease & Curren, we put our customers first. As part of our commitment to customer relationships, we are committed to transparency and integrity of our business practices. We have put together some useful tips and information to help evaluate and foster a productive relationship with your precious metals refiner.
- Do 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 how your material is being analyzed.
- Do understand how your material is being assayed. Newer technology has been introduced to the industry, even though they may be faster they do not provide the accuracy. Understand what process is used and what level of accuracy is important to you.
- Do evaluate the experience of refinery employees. If you are not confident that the refiner’s employees have the training and skill to handle your material properly, go elsewhere.
- Do check to be sure that the refiner is environmentally sound and is in full compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations. Being responsible 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.
- Do 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.
- Do 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.
- Do 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.
- Do consider if the refiners’ terms will meet the needs for your business. What is important to your business, highest quality return; flexible return options; market flexibility; and/ or dependability. Finding the refiner that partners to meets your needs will reduce stress in running your business.
- Don’t ship to a local refiner just because they have a truck in your area. Reliable shippers such as UPS, Federal Express, and even the USPS individual container shipments up to 75 pounds and can usually get the shipment to your refiner faster. Contact your refiner to determine the best method to ship your material.
- Don’t sell your scrap to a broker who estimates its value and pays you cash. His margin more than exceeds any refining fee that you may incur.
- Don’t hold your refining 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.
- Don’t 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.
- Don’t 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.
These are some of the most common things you can do or avoid in the precious metal refining business. We continually work with our customers to offer more specific tips as the industry grows and changes, and more new – and untested – refiners get into the business.