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  • End-to-End assistance in obtaining Licence for Export of spent catalyst
  • Documentation for export application to MoEF&CC and SPCB
  • Legal assistance throughout the application process
  • Liaising with government authorities in case of any issues

Overview of Export of Cleaned Spent Precious Metal Bearing Catalyst

Export of Cleaned Spent Precious Metal Bearing Catalyst is permissible under Hazardous Waste Management Rules 2016. Catalysts are used for various purposes but find the main application in oil refining like catalytic reforming, isomerisation and hydrocracking, in producing speciality chemicals like vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and in catalytic converters of automobiles. Many chemical and petrochemical manufacturers use fixed-bed reaction catalysts to facilitate the hydrogenation of various intermediates.

Moreover, catalysts are also used in automobile catalytic reactors to eliminate pollutants from exhausts of volatile organic compounds. Typically employed catalysts in the chemical processing industry incorporate platinum group metals (PGMs)such as platinum (Pt) and palladium (Pd).But, other PGMs like ruthenium (Ru), iridium (Ir) and rhodium (Rh), as well as gold (Au) and silver (Ag), are also used. Besides their valuable content of precious metals, spent catalysts also contain other metals (for example, Sn, Pb, Ni, Co, Ge) and are used as promoters. All these metals are coated on various carriers such as alumina, silica, zeolites and carbon that need to be separated while refining for precious metals from the catalyst. Other precious metals containing substances from such facilities include filter cakes, papers, cloths, polishing filters, floor sweepings, protective clothing etc.

Precious Metal Refining Process

Once catalysts are used up, they are removed from the equipment and cleaned. This waste catalyst is considered "spent". PGMs are non-reactive in naturethat are present in a dispersed form on the catalyst's surface. Although the loading of PGM onto the catalyst's surface is low, the economic value of these metals makes it essential to recycle them to meet future demand and mitigate their supply risk. The global recovery of platinum from the spent catalyst is about 35%. A cleanedspent catalyst batch from a significant refiner weighing 226 tonnes could easily contain $3 million in recoverable platinum.The steps involved in the recovery of cleaned spent precious metal bearing catalyst are -

  • Individual preparation
  • Individual sampling
  • Analysis
  • Treatment
  • Precious metal refining

Documents Required for Export of Cleaned Spent Precious Metal Bearing Catalyst

  • Form 5 of Hazardous and Waste Rules, 2016
  • Justification for export
  • If the exporter is the actual user, then authorisation is under Hazardous Waste Rules.
  • Composition analysis/ test report of waste from EPA-recognised lab
  • Insurance policy covering liability to health and environment during transit
  • Acknowledgement for receipt of a copy of the application from the concerned State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) / Pollution Control Committee (PCC)
  • Document depicting the status of employment generation indicating the no. of people benefitted
  • Copy of the agreement between the buyer and seller/importer and exporter
  • Copy of the previous latest permission issued by this Ministry

Procedure for Export of Cleaned Spent Precious Metal Bearing Catalyst

For the export of cleaned spent precious metal bearing catalyst specified in Part B of Schedule III, the applicant will have to apply in Form 5 along with insurance cover to the MoEF&CC. Details like name, contact details, and facility address must be provided. Subsequently, the reason for export, the quantity of waste to be exported, and the Basel number associated with waste must be provided in the application. In the case of export of cleaned spent precious metal bearing catalyst, this number is B1130.

The waste to be exported must be fully insured for transit and any accidents and, therefore, its clean-up operation. Lastly, a declaration indicating that the importer will be liable to bear the cost of export and mitigation of damages if any, and the exported wastes will be taken back if it is not acceptable to the importer has to be signed. The table below explains the application stages required in the case of export of cleaned spent precious metal bearing catalyst.

  Submission of Application and     Documents

For the export of cleaned spent precious metal bearing catalyst, the exporter needs to apply Form 5 along with all necessary documents and insurance cover to the MoEF&CC. After deliberation and being justified with the reason, the Ministry will process the application.

    Document Scrutiny

MoEF&CC scrutinises the documents and the declaration made related to reasons for export, waste composition, insurance policy and agreements between buyer and seller.If the authority is convinced that neither country has any issue in importing and exporting the item, permission will be granted.

    Issue of registration

MoEF&CCwill issue the Consent Letter within sixty days from the submission date of the completed application. Copies of permission will also be sent to the SPCBs concerned (i.e. state where the waste is generated and the state where the export port is located) and to the Customs Authorities.MoEF&CC may impose additional conditions as they may be necessary for the transit.

Market Overview of Export

The market size of precious metal-bearing catalysts is forecasted to reach $12.1 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 5.9% from 2021-2026.The rapidly growing automobile market, and stringent emission norms that are being imposed, are driving a growing demand for auto catalysts in India. Waste or scrap containing precious metals like catalytic converters are exported from India to the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Belgium, Rep. of Korea, and the Philippines. The combined export value from India to these countries stands at 408.96 million USD. Furthermore, the accelerating demand for high-performance fuel for transport and growing investment in refineries are the major factors which drive the precious metal catalysts exports from India.

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