Wait before You Say, “Oh that…. Yeah We Throw that Away!”


“Oh that …. yeah we throw that away.” “The vacuum bags – yeah we usually just toss them.” “No we don’t really keep that stuff.” I used to hear these phrases a lot when I first got into the industry 18 years ago.


Sweeps encompass floor sweepings, vacuum bags, tools that touch metal and now are spent, filters from your polishing machines, paper, rags, gloves and sometimes even the carpet or tiles around the area in your shop if you are replacing them and more. Should you save this CRAP!? Yes. Yes. Yes. Please note that sweeps from the bench or filings from the bench are much more high grade and should be run separate or can sometimes be combined with a solid scrap lot.

Here is some easy quick advice. Get a can from your Refiner, from Home Depot, (5 gal bucket) or some sturdy garbage bags. Every day or week get into a habit of cleaning up your shop. Make sure that you SAVE the above mentioned materials. Save anything that touches or has come in contact with gold, silver, platinum or palladium.


Sweeps will NEVER (almost ever) run the same from lot to lot. Please always be realistic about the recovery on your very low grade materials. Keep in mind these few things… From time-to-time, year-to-year, shops polishing changes – maybe the past few years you’ve started working with more silver or platinum. Maybe you have a new polisher who doesn’t press into the metal as hard as the old guy who used to work for you or Versa Visa. Maybe you’re shop has slowed down or gotten tremendously busy – things change, business changes… Don’t assume that if you had 5 lbs of materials and got $2,300 the last time about 3 years ago that you should have the same or more this go around. Work with a reputable company… You’ll sleep better that way. 

Are you casting? If so, Your sweeps materials will be richer than a jeweler who is simply polishing with a polishing machine in back. Make sure you talk with your Refiner and determine if the time is right to send your materials in for reclamation. If you are casting, typically you can look for 5-13 grams of gold per pound and maybe 1-5 grams of gold per pound if polishing only. These are just “guidelines” I advise my clientele to wait until they have sufficient poundage – that can be 5/10/20 lbs. If possible, even if it takes another year or two to accumulate. We want you to have enough materials to process and be payable. There is a lot of work that goes into low grade materials on our side. Don’t ship just to ship hoping for the best.


When we process your “sweeps materials” “low grade burnables” we burn your materials in an oven so your materials essentially become an ash. Keep in mind 11 lbs of polishing dust, bags etc. can easily burn down to 1 pound of material, as an example. We screen solids and iron out of the materials. We ball mill the materials with large steel balls to crush the ash into a powder – the powder is screened and sampled and assayed as a powder. The solids are melted and assayed and the iron is weighed but will be discarded as no value. It’s not done in a day or at a desk and it’s very labor-intensive work. It’s like finding a diamond in a haystack. You want it done and done right by a company that has history of processing sweeps and other burnables like GEIB Refining Corporation.

Charges should be reasonable and will typically take 2-4 weeks to process. So be patient; let your company do it right for your benefit. In most cases it’s “found money”. Don’t send your sweeps materials to any company that just sends a barrel to you out of the blue. As always, if you have questions comments or anything to add (agree or disagree) please call me anytime always 401.595.4516 or email [email protected]