High Precision Assaying

Providing independent commercial settlement

Bureau Veritas has one of the world’s largest independent commercial settlement laboratories in the UK where we provide a comprehensive range of analytical services that cover all metals and minerals from exploration through to end users and eventual recycling. Our expertise includes classical assay methods, such as gravimetric (wet chemistry) and fire assay as well as instrumental techniques, including Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF).


Key Benefits of Our High Precision Assaying Services

  • Party analysis for commercial settlement
  • Umpire or arbitration analysis to support commercial settlement
  • ISO 17025 accredited Metal & Mineral test capability, providing you with an independent determination of quality when you need it
  • Externally audited UK Umpire Laboratory– providing the ultimate assurance of our independence and integrity

our related services :

Fire Assay

Assaying content in precious metals

Fire assay is a vital aspect of determining the precious metal content of samples. There are a number of stages in the process from original sample to isolated precious materials which can be tested using other techniques. Samples are placed in crucibles and heated to more than 1000°C with other compounds including lead oxide. The sample separates into metals mixed with the lead and covered molten glass (slag), which contains base materials and other contaminants. This is separated from the lead ‘button’ by cupellation. The lead ‘button’ is placed on a cupel and heated to more than 1000°C.

The cupel absorbs the lead leaving a small amount of precious metal which can then analysed in a variety of ways – through chemical means, through gravimetric testing or by spectrometer. Bureau Veritas provides fire assays through its global laboratory network.

Auto-Catalyst - Precious Metals

Expert Analytical Services for the Precious Metals Industry

During the collection and processing of spent auto-catalyst, there are several risks: 

  • Different catalyst manufacturers and year of production 
  • Catalyst from different regions 
  • Informal collection and recycling process 
  • Low recovery rates of Precious Metals 
  • Lack of recognized authoritative testing laboratory

Bureau Veritas will help to avoid these issues through:

  • Inspection: piece counts, container sealing and process supervision
  • Representative Sampling, using techniques appropriate to the material
  • Assays for Pt, Pd and Rh provided by World-leading laboratories

By having technically robust sampling and analysis, you will reduce errors in measuring metal content and realise the full value of your consignment.

Gold Services

Expert Testing & Inspection Services for the Precious Metals Industry

Having personnel within easy reach of most precious metals refineries we are able to bring our expertise in representative sampling and accurate assaying to you locally, protecting your commercial interests throughout. Some of the services we provide include:

  • Supervision of unpacking and recovery at the refinery
  • Stock Audits
  • Weighing, Sampling
  • Moisture/Sizing/Sample preparation
  • Party and Umpire Analytical services
  • Consultancy

LBMA Proactive monitoring

Bureau Veritas are an approved London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) supervising company, who can be appointed to undertake proactive monitoring ensuring high gold refining standards are met.Supervision includes monitoring and reporting on: 

  • Raw materials
  • Melting operation
  • Witness of the sampling
  • Sealing of reserve samples


Bureau Veritas has key industry personnel, including a former gold refinery manager, with expertise in good delivery, refinery processes, representative sampling and accurate assaying. As an independent we can offer consultancy without compromising your intellectual property.

Vault Audits

A specialised group of our experienced inspectors are trained to undertake bullion vault audits.

Umpire Analysis

Independent analysis of metals and minerals in dispute cases

Bureau Veritas is highly regarded for its work as an umpire where there are disputes between parties. These will be on the basis of the results they have obtained from companies employed by them to analyze ore samples as part of a transaction. In many cases the results of the analyses from two separate laboratories will either be the same, or sufficiently close, to allow the parties to agree on composition and therefore the value of a cargo. 

However, in large cargoes, even small differences in concentrations of, for example, nickel ore, can result in a very large financial difference when the results are scaled up for a cargo of many thousands of tonnes. Where an agreement is not possible, Bureau Veritas may be employed to conduct its own analysis of samples to determine an independent result (Depending on the nature of the contract between the two differing parties Bureau Veritas' ‘umpire‘ analysis may be advisory or binding). Bureau Veritas has inspection and sampling experts based throughout the world’s main mining, shipping and refining locations and can provide international coordination through our UK centre.

Ore testing capabilities

  • Analytical Techniques
  • Gravimetric and classical assaying
  • Instrumental techniques
  • Round robins and training