Precious Metals Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Precious Metals Recovery Program (PMRP)?
A: The program promotes the economic recovery of precious metals from excess and surplus precious metal-bearing materials, and also the reuse of recovered precious metal for internal purposes or as government furnished material supporting contracts. The program seeks to recover silver, gold, and metals in the platinum family. The platinum family includes platinum, palladium, iridium, rhodium, osmium, and ruthenium.
Q: Why participate in the PMRP?
A: By DOD policy, all DoD components generating precious metal bearing material, or requiring precious metals, will participate in the program. Details can be found in the Federal Property Management Regulations, 41.101-45.10, as well as the Department of Defense Regulation (DoD 4140-1-R) and Manual (DoD 4160.21-M). Other federal agencies that generate precious metals may participate in the program in accordance with agreements in effect between DLA and individual agencies.
Q: What are the sources of precious metals?
A: Gold is found in electronic circuit boards (relays, transistors, diodes, and contact points), pins, along with uniform emblems, badges, insignias, anodes, turnings, buttons and eyeglass frames, powders, salts, foil, leaf, dental lingual bars and wire, gold ware, and brazing alloys. Silver is found in silver cell batteries, tableware, film, buttons, desalter kits, insignias, anodes, welding and brazing wire, radar antennas, electronics-relay contact points, missile and electronic parts, turnings, and spent photographic fixing solutions. Platinum family metals are found in aircraft spark plugs, magneto and relay contact points, detonator fuses, electronics-diodes and parts, anodes, cathodes, crucibles, foil, resistor furnace coil, thermocouple wires, solenoid switches, voltage regulators, jewelry, laboratory ware and wire.
Q: Why recycle the precious metals from excess and/or surplus materials/scrap?
A: Participation in the program saves money for the taxpayers and the government by recycling and reutilizing precious metals at a reduced cost to the government. It also conserves natural resources by recycling and reusing precious metals, reduces environmental impact of having to extract additional precious metals.
Q: How does the program operate?
A: The program is a continuous life cycle. It can start at any point, but for the purpose of explanation, we will start with a person called an item manager working at the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP) who issues precious metals as government furnished material at a cost lower than the current market value of the metals. In turn the metals are used by government contractors to make items for use by DOD or other federal agencies such as aircraft nose cones or stator vanes for aircraft. Eventully when those items are used, expired, or are considered excess or surplus to the user, they are turned into DLA Disposition Services sites that accumulate the precious metals bearing material or scrap for placement on a recovery contract. The refined metals, such are then deposited by the contractor into the an account at DSCP for reissue to the DoD/FCAs. From there the life cycle or recycling of the precious metals continues.
Q: What is the DLA Disposition Services involvement in the DoD PMRP?
A: DLA Disposition Services provides day-to-day program guidance and administers the receipt, storage, processing, shipment, and refining of precious metals bearing material or scrap.
Q: What are the benefits of the program?
A: The program has returned material with a market value of more than $400 million dollars to the government in the last 30 years. During that time it cost the government $166 million to run the program - while saving the government and taxpayers $234 million.