tanaka hukou taiwan
A rendering of the planned Tanaka Hukou plant in Taiwan, after its expansion.
Image courtesy of Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo

Tanaka to build Taiwan precious metals recycling facility

Japanese firm is planning a facility in Taiwan that can recover precious metals from postindustrial and catalyst materials.

July 21, 2022

Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo (TKK), Tokyo, has announced it intends to establish a new building at its Hukou plant in Hsinchu County, Taiwan, that will act as a “one-stop service” for precious metal recycling.

The new refining plant is expected to cost approximately 3.5 billion Japanese yen ($25.3 million), Tanaka says. The expansion project is expected to result in eight floors above ground and one basement floor at the Hukou facility, “making the total floor area of the Hukou Plant approximately six times larger after completion,” Tanaka adds. The company says it anticipates the expanded plant will begin operation in the first half of 2025.

Tanaka has been manufacturing electrical contacts in Taiwan since the late 1980s and started recovering and refining precious metals at the Hukou Plant in 2005.

The company says, “Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo expects to expand its recycling business in Taiwan by 2026 to provide a stable supply of precious metal materials and contribute to Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, which has a large share of the entire semiconductor market.”

TKK says it has decided to undertake the recycling expansion because of the increase in demand for semiconductors in recent years and what it calls a growing worldwide trend toward reducing environmental impact and an increased need for sustainable materials and products.

Tanaka specializes in refining postindustrial precious-metals-containing materials. Materials it accepts in Hukou (or will after the expansion) include precious metal plating waste liquid, production scrap and used catalysts from the automotive and petrochemical sectors.

The company adds, “An important part of recycling precious metals is the ability to analyze the amount of precious metals contained in the materials that are recycled.”

On that front, TKK says Tanaka Precious Metals is one of only five companies worldwide, and the only company based in Asia, to be accredited as a Good Delivery Referee by both the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM).

Metals that Tanaka extracts and refines include platinum, gold, silver and palladium.

“By completing all processes in Taiwan, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo believes it can contribute to the reduction of import and export processes,” the company adds.