Precious metals recovery company Gra-Tech is aiming to assist companies that are active in the platinum group metals (PGMs) industry, particularly mines and nitric acid plants, as it looks to expand into other emerging markets.
“Industry has not realised the massive value contained in old and scrapped equipment. Anybody who uses or has used PGMs as a catalyst in their processes is potentially looking at being able to recover millions of rands from existing and scrapped equipment. “We began this offering in 1999 when we partnered with a company that supplies platinum gauzes as catalysts,” says Gra-Tech COO Darren Cornish.
This process of metals recovery adds to the other services that Gra-Tech offers, including aerial inspection, chemical cleaning, high-pressure water jetting, chemical treatment and specialist consulting. “Profit margins are tight across all industries and assisting mining firms with metals recovery will help them to maintain their bottom lines,” says Cornish.
The company is involved in destructive and nondestructive precious metals recovery, depending on the application required. The destructive process entails dissolving all metals into a solution, which is subjected to a sedimentation process. Thereafter, the slag is sent for further processing and purification, he explains.
Destructive recovery is performed when plant equipment has reached the end of its life of operation. During processes that use a catalyst, PGMs can be absorbed into the surface of the equipment. Gra-Tech then completes a destructive clean to remove these deposits so that they can be recovered. This is different to the nondestructive clean, which is performed on equipment that has not reached the end of its life of operation and is still operational.
The company hopes to build on this by increasing its footprint – already fairly prominent – further into Africa, as well as expanding into India and the Caribbean. It further hopes to stay profitable and continue increasing its client list, as well as building on relationships with existing customers.
“We will continue to provide exceptional customer service, roll out new products and invest in intellectual property. We want to cement our top position in precious metals recovery,” highlights Cornish.
Central to the company’s plans for expansion and growth is the acquisition of a 25.1% interest by independent business development association Business Leadership South Africa CEO and entrepreneur Bonang Mohale and community development organisation Afrika Tikkun Capital in the company last year, which Cornish sees as a significant advantage for Gra-Tech.
“He brings huge knowledge and is actively involved in the business. “We believe that the changing face of industrialisation in emerging markets means that there are huge opportunities in South Africa, and Mohale’s high profile will help Gra-Tech meet its strategic objectives,” he concludes.