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Umicore Gold

Umicore is one of the biggest names in the precious metals market. The business produces a range of precious metal bars, with most of the metal content being conflict-free because it comes from scrap recycling.

We will take a look into Umicore's background, their metal recycling, business operations and precious metal bars. By the end of the article, you should have a better idea of Umicore, and why investing in Umicore’s precious metals might be right for you.


Umicore is the world's largest recycler of precious metals. It started in 1989 as a merger of three companies: Vieille Montagne, a zinc producer; Metallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt, which dealt in various metals; and Machim, an engineering business.

Originally known as Union Minière, Umicore’s main business area used to be in precious metals. However, due to their business model being restructured in the 1990s, Umicore’s business activities have broadened into four key divisions: energy materials, recycling, catalysis, and performance materials. Their long-term plan has been to become a business built on environmentally sustainable operations.

They have been successful in their endeavours, winning the Fray International Sustainability Award in 2011, achieving first place in the Global 100’s Most Sustainable Companies in the World for 2013, and coming ninth in the same award the following year.

Umicore’s gold refinery is conflict-free. This is achieved because most of their precious metals come from their recycling facility, which is the largest of its kind in the world, recycling 20 valuable metals from scrapped materials — Umicore only needs 4 tonnes of used mobile phones instead of 200 tonnes of ore to produce a gold bar of 1kg.

Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, Umicore has grown considerably over the past few decades, with a revenue of €11.9B in 2017. As of 2018, the company employs over 10,200 employees.

Recycling Precious Metals

Umicore Precious Metals Refining is recognised as one of the leading refineries in the world, producing gold bars to a purity of 99.99%, or 24-carat gold, which is generally accepted as pure.

According to Umicore: “Since gold extraction and mining began thousands of years ago, less than 200,000 tonnes of gold have ever been produced, the vast majority of which is still available in aboveground stocks. This would barely fill four Olympic sized swimming pools!”

However, out of all the gold produced each year, 30% comes from recycled products. This is key for Umicore, as it is the leader in precious metals recycling.

As one of the key global businesses in the area of precious metals recycling and refining, Umicore not only refines and recycles metals such as gold and silver, but other metals, too, such as cobalt, tin and antimony. Many of their recyclable materials come from industrial and jewelling scrap.

Business Operations

Umicore is involved in four areas of industrial manufacturing: energy materials, recycling, catalysis, and performance materials. Therefore, their precious metal operations are only one part of their overall business. Below we will take a closer look at how exactly Umicore operates in this segment of their business.

Umicore’s precious metal operations work in a few ways. First, it is known as a toll refiner, which means Umicore may contract the refining of its ore to a third-party (a refining customer’s account) at a cost. However, the precious metal remains under Umicore’s ownership.

Second, Umicore recycles scrap metals, refining them into precious or industrial metals before selling them back to the marketplace, usually to industrial clients.

Third, Umicore’s recycling unit, based in Germany, also provides financial instruments for hedge trading. Metals within their warehouse can be used for trading purposes with the flexibility for chain sales. Various services are offered, such as metal transfers, metal-swaps, leasing, geo-swaps and other financial strategies.

Umicore’s Precious Metal Bars

Umicore produce a range of precious metal bars, including silver and gold. Their silver and gold bars are produced in two varieties: minted bars and cast bars. Minted bars are bars of pure silver or gold, shaped and styled with ornate designs, such as the Umicore name and logo, and polished for presentation.

Cast bars are bars of pure silver or gold but have no additional styling after being cast. However, like stamped bars, they are imprinted with the company’s name, logo, serial number and purity.

Umicore’s minted gold bars are available in sizes ranging from 1g to 100g, and their cast bars range from 100g to 12,500g. Umicore’s silver minted bars range from 10g to 100g, and their cast bars range from 250g to 5,000g.

In addition to gold and silver, Umicore refines and sells other precious metals, too, including platinum and palladium.

Their platinum bars are produced as minted bars from 10g up to 100g, and their cast platinum bars in weights from 500g to 1,000g. Palladium bars are also manufactured as minted bars from 10g up to 100g, and as cast palladium bars in weights from 500g to 1,000g.

Buy Umicore Bullion

At The Gold Bullion Co we offer a variety of certified Umicore gold and silver bullion products. Minted gold bars are available from 1g to 100g together with cast gold bars from 250g to 1 kilo. Minted silver 100g bars and silver cast bars ranging from 250g to 5 kilos are also available.

We offer the option of UK delivery, where your bullion will be securely packed, fully insured and dispatched to your address, or we can store your bullion in one of our secure vaults.

Interested in buying Umicore bullion? Find out more here