Precious Metals Refinables are non-waste complex UVCB (unknown or variable composition, complex reaction products or of biological materials) 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 amongst the most representative examples.

PM Refinable groups have been identified by the EPMF (see inventory for further details). The maintenance of the dossiers started in 2011. As most of the UVCB dossiers registrations dated back to 2014, it was time for an update. In line with the EPMF’s commitment to MISA – Metals and Inorganics Sectoral Approach, a programme that was set up by ECHA and Eurometaux (European non-ferrous metals association) to address technical and scientific issues faced by the metals and inorganics sector, the UVCBs registration dossiers were updated. In November 2019, the UVCB MISA workshop resulted on clear approaches with an aim to collectively agree on UVCB dossier requirements and streamline the communication with ECHA (hereby reinforcing the industry approach and position). Combined efforts of the UVCB platform and the EPMF resulted in a complete update of all PM Refinables dossiers, addressing many aspects of the dossiers ranging from substance description improvements (with foreseen splits), filling of data gaps, updating classifications, reviewing the hazard and exposure assessment, to compliant data reporting.

A first set of dossiers were successfully registered in July 2023 and some more await to be submitted by the lead registrants soon. For the four remaining Refinables dossiers, the split of these dossiers requires new EC identifiers. Request procedures via ECHA’s ‘Substance Identity Adaptation – EC Change’ service have been initialized. Upon completion of this process the dossiers can be submitted. The aim of the EPMF is to finalize the submission of all the updates of the Refinables dossiers by end of 2024.

Registration and Timeline

Precious Metals Refinables Inventory
(Including Classifications and ID Cards)

EPMF Refinables Working Group

Chair:  Jeroen Janse (Umicore, Belgium)
Co-Chair: Daniela Cholakova (Aurubis, Germany)

Responsible Secretariat Officer(s): Aurine Verkest