Surgical Extractions

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EarthCure, Millennium Precious Metals

September 7, 2012
Recycling Today Staff

Millennium Precious Metals of Dallas is a full-service metals refinery focusing on recovering precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. The company has an impressive client roster that includes such entities as Walmart and the U.S. Army/Air Force Exchange.

Owner Brian Wallis and co-founder Todd Handel also branched off into the growing area of recovering precious metals from medical and dental waste. Wallis, a former derivatives trader and bullion house executive, had championed the idea of recovering the trace amounts of precious metals found in medical and dental waste. EarthCure was formed in early 2011. Later that year, the company partnered with Renewable Manufacturing Gateway (RMG) of Pittsburgh, a nonprofit venture capital firm, to open an EarthCure Precious Metals Refinery in the Pittsburgh area.

The EarthCure partnership utilizes the existing processes in place at Millennium’s Dallas facility to recycle trace amounts of platinum, gold, silver, rhodium and palladium from medical devices such as used electrophysiology (EP) catheters and angioplasty guide wires. EarthCure Pittsburgh, the first refinery to be formed under that joint venture, is expected to be built in late 2012 or early 2013.

Handel explains the philosophies and missions of EarthCure below.

Q: How did EarthCure get its start?

A: Many of the catheter tips used in hospitals contain platinum...because it isn’t rejected by the human body yet still transmits electricity. Our idea was, if we could get hospitals to recover the precious metals from these items rather than throw them away, or to recycle those metals through us directly rather than going through brokers, they would be able to generate a new revenue stream.

Q: How are you different from your competitors?

A: The organization is designed as a direct link for hospitals and dentists, who can sell their scrap materials directly to us. ...We found that by cutting out the middle men, we can offer hospitals and dental facilities a lot more for their precious metals.

Also, most other facilities are smelting only. We, on the other hand, are a full-service refinery that can melt the material and then refine it into pure metal.

We also make sure everything we do is under video surveillance, and all of our X-ray and lab equipment is constantly checked and recalibrated so that there are no divergences in our math. We want to be 100 percent transparent.

Q: Where do you see your company five years from now?

A: Our goal in the next five years is to have between five and 10 fully functioning refineries throughout the U.S. Each facility will operate independently, and the refined material will then come back to Millennium in Dallas.