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Carnival dust is first for Veolia extraction plant

Street dust from the weekend’s Notting Hill Carnival is set to be the first material processed by Veolia Environmental Services’ (VES) to extract palladium.

The fine dust picked up by street cleaning services is being processed through the company’s new washing plant in the Midlands which can process 30,000 tonnes of soil a year.

VES hopes that from this it can extract the palladium once the washed material is transferred to its palladium recovery facility situated at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.

It expects to recover around 5kg of palladium from the new facility each year.

VES head of technology Richard Kirkman said: “Palladium exists in vehicle exhausts within the catalytic converters. Over time this wears off and a lot of it gets swept up in our street sweeping rounds. We recover small bits of it but it only exists within products as a small part anyway.”

Palladium has been focused on initially because of the kit VES already owns but it is open about the potential to open this up to other high value metals.

Readers' comments (2)

  • All that effort for £15k per kg.
    Is that really worth it?

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  • 5kg would provide enough palladium for 2,000 catalysts and has a market value of tens of thousands of pounds. Palladium is a resource we need to conserve, it has very low abundance in the earth’s crust and 10 tonnes of ore must be mined to gather only 1 gram.

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