Chair: Michiel Ceulemans (Umicore, Belgium)
Co-Chair: Daniela Cholakova (Aurubis, Germany)
 Secretariat Officer Responsible: Aurine Verkest

Precious Metals Refinables are non-waste complex (UVCB) isolated intermediates resulting from a primary and/or secondary refining stream containing precious metals.  The complexity of these refining streams results from the fact that they arise from a variety of non-ferrous metals refining streams with a valuable presence of precious metals. These streams are collected by specialized refiners which apply the necessary pyro- and hydro-metallurgical processes to recover the precious metal content.

The variability within each type of Refinable is very much influenced by the source of the refining material as well as by the specificities of the process which is applied to recover the precious metal content; because of the nature of precious metals refining, source and process cannot always be discretely separated or assigned in most cases.  From all substances of unknown or variable composition (UVCB) falling in the scope of the REACH regulation, PM Refinables are probably among the most representative examples of these!

Fourteen PM Refinable groups have been identified by the EPMF (see inventory for further details). A Registration Dossier was prepared for each one of these groups which included all available existing data, one or more classification(s) or a classification pick-list, and a Guidance on Safe Use for each Refinable. All fourteen Registration Dossiers have been successfully registered by the relevant Lead Registrants in 2010.

Following the release of the December 2010 ECHA Guidance on intermediates, the EPMF reviewed the registration strategy for these intermediates and is generating data, information and tools to properly demonstrate and document that rigorous containment and strictly controlled conditions (SCC) are in place.  Where SCC cannot be demonstrated, the Registration Dossiers will need to include more information which allows to properly risk assess the intermediate under REACH.  For such complex UVCB materials though, full registration can be challenging and may require an approach which is different to the one followed for simpler substances under REACH (i.e. REACH Annexes VII-X tests).  Industry, toxicology and eco-toxicology experts organised in a platform under the umbrella of Eurométaux, communicating regularly with ECHA experts, have developed an approach  to perform a scientifically robust and valid risk assessment of a UVCB based on the effects and exposure data available on the constituting elements of each UVCB.  The updated (also called upgraded) Refinables registration dossiers were submitted to ECHA in April 2014.  Future work to fine-tune and address remaining uncertainties of the approach is anticipated and is ongoing.

Interested in joining the EPMF or buying a LoA? Please visit our  dedicated webpage.