BASF and Heraeus have agreed to form a joint venture to recover precious metals from spent automotive catalysts. The new company is called BASF HERAEUS (China) Metal Resource Co., Ltd., is 50 % owned by both companies, and will be located in Pinghu, China. The legal entity is scheduled to be established in the first quarter of 2022, following approval by the relevant authorities. Construction is scheduled to start in 2022 and operation in 2023. The new factory will create about 100 new jobs.
Because China has limited natural resources of platinum group metals (PGMs) such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, it relies strongly on imports. Recycling scrap materials, such as spent automotive catalytic converters, to recover PGMs, enable a circular economy. The precious metals are used to make new products for the automotive, chemical, electronics, and green hydrogen industries. Recycled precious metals are environmentally friendly and have up to 90% lower carbon footprint than primary metals from a mine.