Circular Economy

Our ideas for the environment

Chimet sees sustainability as the key to maintaining its position as a leading company providing an industrial service based on a closed cycle of the recovery, refining and production of precious metals and precious metal-based chemicals.

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An ethical question: why recycled metals?

Over their lifetime, every person needs over 1,500,000 kg of
minerals, metals, fuels…

50 g Gold
447 Kg Copper
15000 Kg Salt
5183 Kg Clays
245 Kg Zinc
567 ton Stone, Sand & Gravel
300000 l Petroleum
410 Kg Lead
26000 Kg Other Minerals & Metals
200000 m3 Natural Gas
22000 Kg Cement
12000 Kg Iron Ore
2400 Kg Bauxite (Aluminum)
206000 Kg Coal
8000 Kg Phosphate Rock
© Minerals Education Coalition |

Environmental implications

Huge waste production

about 2 tons of rock are dug to produce a typical 18k (5g) gold wedding band

Enormous energy consumption

about 5% of the energy we consume worldwide is used to grind rocks

Mining industry and environmental impact

Extracting metals from mines generates large quantities of waste

Perhaps not everyone knows that beyond generating huge amounts of waste, extracting metals from mines involves the use of highly polluting and toxic substances, for example cyanide and mercury in the case of gold. The pollution generated is often a danger for decades, even centuries to come. Social, economic, political, or even cultural or psychological impacts are a measure of this model of exploitation.

In the US, the metal mining business creates approximately 30% of the total toxic discharges measured by the EPA each year.

The situation is far worse in poor countries with more permissive rules: gold mines and their waste have poisoned rivers in Guyana, significantly destroyed the rainforest in Papua New Guinea, and forced the evacuation of entire villages in the Philippines. In West Africa, thousands of children dig for gold in extreme conditions.

According to the United Nations, one fifth of the world’s gold reserves are mined by miners who work for wages below the subsistence level.

It has been estimated that over a third of global mercury pollution is caused by small-scale mining. Mercury is a neurotoxin that causes damage to the brain, nervous system, lungs and kidneys. It is especially harmful to pregnant women and children, even in small quantities.

Precious metals are not an infinite resource

Like everything we extract, precious metals are not an infinite resource. Sooner or later they will run out. If we still need them, we will have to learn to find them in different “mines” than the current ones: waste.

Linear Economy

In the linear production and consumption model, the life of each product essentially has five stages: extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. This means that the industry extracts virgin raw materials, transforms them to produce consumer goods using work and energy, and distributes the products to the consumer, who after using them, proceeds to dispose of them, now as “waste”. Each stage of a product’s life requires raw materials and energy, and generates waste and polluting emissions.

Company Circular Economy

According to this economic model, every consumer good passes from cradle to grave. This means products have a beginning and an end: in fact, their lives end in the dustbin, where the material becomes waste, unusable for production purposes.

It has been recognised worldwide that this approach to resources, together with constant population growth, increased consumption and often inefficient use of resources, is no longer sustainable. If this trend continues at the current rate, by 2050 we will need two planets.

Our solution

Analysis laboratory, Chimet

Chimet can transform waste into an asset

Chimet is a national and international leader in recovering and refining precious metals. Benefiting from over 40 years’ experience, this activity began as an internal division of Unoaerre, the first goldsmith company in Arezzo and one of the most important in the world.

Chimet transforms the Linear Economy into a Circular one, acting in the Collection and Recycling phases

Circular economy creates a great opportunity for Italy in terms of employment and economic development today, and to resolve problems that have plagued us for some time, including waste management, the availability of raw materials, energy efficiency and huge import costs. Chimet is committed to collecting precious metal waste to make new finished products.

The “cradle to cradle” approach contrasts the existing industrial system based on the “cradle to grave” paradigm, in which used consumer goods are destined to wind up in landfills or incinerators, with a consequent waste of precious materials, large portions of land, resources and energy, and the production of pollutants.

Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed…

Chimet’s mission is clear and precise: to recover and refine precious metals from industrial processing waste, making it easier to recycle them in the production of catalysts, thick films and chemicals.


The processes Chimet has developed also allow to recover the pure precious metals forming part of the production cycle for companies worldwide. At the same time, the company disposes of waste from the recovery processes with the utmost care, in compliance with current regulations, and directs it towards further systems for reuse.


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