Metals play a key role in our day-to-day lives – from powering our smart phones to being a focal point in a piece of jewelry.
Gold, silver, and platinum are the three precious metal assets that are traded the most. Osmium, ruthenium, and metals of much greater significance like iridium, palladium, and rhodium are only a few of the metals that make up the platinum group members (PGM’s).
In this article we will take a look at the top 10 most valuable precious metals.
Price per gram: $1 – $5
The softest metal in existence, Indium takes shape as a silvery-white metal that resembles tin in appearance. It is a post-transition metal that makes up 0.21 parts per million of the Earth’s crust.
Indium is most commonly used in the semiconductor industry for goods like alloys, solders, and soft-metal high vacuum seals. China is the leading producer of indium from ores and concentrates, while Japan is the leading producer of indium from recycled material.
Price per gram: $44
Scandium is a soft, silvery transition element which occurs in rare minerals from Scandinavia. Scandium can be found in houses in equipment such as colour televisions, fluorescent lamps, energy-saving lamps and glasses. Scandium’s popularity is growing, due to the fact that it is suited to produce catalysers and to polish glass.
Price per gram: $0.48
Coming in at number 8 is one of the most well known and common metals in the world – silver. Long considered a precious metal, silver is utilised in several different ways, such as the manufacturing of bullion coins and other non-currency related mediums like solar panels, water filtration systems, and jewelry.
The number-one silver-producing country in the world is Mexico. The country produced 5,600 metric tons in 2021.
One troy ounce: $1,290
Considered to be one of the rarest metals of the earth’s crust, this high-value metal is frequently utilized for Nickel based superalloys in combustion chambers, turbine blades and exhaust nozzles of jet engines.
Rhenium is obtained from molybdenite in porphyry copper mines and recovered as a by-product of molybdenum processing. It is mined in the USA, Chile, Canada and Russia.
One troy ounce: $400
As a trace element in alloys and Platinum ores, osmium is a hard, bluish-white transition metal in the platinum group. It is frequently used to make electrical contacts and the tip of fountain pens because it is the densest naturally occurring element.
Osmium is one of the planet’s rarest elements, which is why it commands such a high price. The metal occurs in iridosule and in platinum-bearing river sands in the Urals, North America, and South America. It is also found in the nickel-bearing ores of Sudbury, Ontario region along with other platinum metals. Osmium was discovered in 1803 by English chemist Smithson Tennant.
Price per ounce: $520
Only three tonnes of iridium are produced annually, making it one of the rarest metals in the crust of the Earth. Iridium is the most corrosion-resistant metal element, resistant to air, water, salts, and acids, and is nearly as dense as the densest metal, osmium.
Iridium is difficult to work with because of its hardness, but the same properties that make it hard to work with also make it a useful additive for strengthening alloys. Iridium, like other PGMs, is mined as a byproduct of nickel mining, and, like other PGMs, its largest deposits are in Russia and South Africa. Due to its rarity in the earth’s crust, it typically makes up a small portion of the portfolio of most mining companies.
Price per ounce: $260
Ruthenium ranks fourth on our list of the most expensive precious metals.
In the mountains of North and South America, ruthenium is most frequently found in ores along with other platinum group metals. The majority is utilised for chip resistors and electrical contacts in the electronics industry. In the chemical industry, ruthenium oxide is used to coat the anodes of electrochemical cells that produce chlorine.
Price per gram: $51
Needing no introduction, coming in at number three is the highly sought after metal, gold. In rocks and alluvial deposits, gold is frequently found in its free elemental native form, as grains or nuggets.
It has been utilised numerous times throughout history for coinage, jewelry, and arts—hence the price tag. It is still considered to be relatively rare.
South Africa produced the most gold up until the 1970s, but production has decreased since then. South Africa produced 32 million ounces of gold, or two-thirds of the world’s supply, at its peak in 1970. Today, China, Australia, and Russia are the three countries that produce the most gold.
Price per gram: $46
The most common application for palladiums is in catalytic converters, which are used to reduce the noxious emissions of up to 90% of all automobile exhaust gases. Additionally, it is used in electronics, groundwater treatment, hydrogen purification, dentistry, and medical applications, as well as the production of some of the most expensive jewelry in the world.
Nearly 40% of the global production of palladium comes out of Russia, with Russian mining company Nornickel the top global palladium producer, mining up to 86 metric tons of the metal in 2019. Other palladium mines are scattered across Canada and South Africa.
Price per gram: $270
In the number one spot is rhodium. Catalytic converters, which are a component of vehicle exhaust systems that reduce pollutants and toxic gas emissions, contain rhodium. The global automotive industry accounts for nearly 80% of rhodium and palladium demand, according to S&P Global Platts. Fortunately for South Africa, around 80% of the world’s rhodium is mined there.
The metal’s rising price can be attributed in part to its rarity. Rhodium production averages around 30 tonnes per year, which is comparable to the amount of gold mined annually, which ranges from 2,500 to 3,000 tonnes.
Rhodium is obtained as a by-product from mining platinum and palladium in the USA (Montana), South Africa and Russia.
Rhodium is obtained commercially as a by-product of copper and nickel refining.
Source: Mining Digital