Archive for the ‘Precious Metals’ Category

Placer Mining: Three Methods Used To Mine Placer Gold

The word placer, as will be found throughout here, is derived from the same Spanish word which means “sandbank”. It specifically refers to an alluvial deposit of detrital material, such as gravel, which contains particles of precious chemical elements.

The term “placer gold”, therefore, refers to gold that has formed in rocks moved and placed on stream beds by some geological forces and by the action of water. Lode gold tends to erode from its source, distributing itself naturally among other rocks that have been subjected to similar geological forces. This results to the formation of a secondary deposit.

Thus the mining of alluvial deposits for gold and other precious metal deposits is called “placer mining”. Placer mining may be done through a number of tunneling procedures into riverbeds. There also are the open-cast mining and hydraulic mining. In the former, placer mining is done by open-pit; in the latter, water pressure is used for excavation.

There are three placer mining methods used to mine placer gold:

Gold Panning:

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This method, which involves the use of a pan, is the oldest and simplest way to extract gold from a placer deposit. In this method, mined ore is placed in a large pan (made either of plastic or metal) and poured with a liberal amount of water; it is then agitated. The gold particles, having higher density than the other materials (examples, mud, sand and gravel; also, gold is about nineteen times heavier than water), settle to the bottom of the pan, while the lighter materials are washed over the side.

Sluice Box:

This method uses the same principle as that in gold panning, only on a larger scale. In this method, a short sluice box is used. The box is constructed with barriers along its bottom, so that the gold particles are trapped as all materials are washed by water. The sluice box method is best suited for excavation in which certain implements, such as shovels, are used to feed ore into the box.


This method involves the use of a screened cylinder to separate materials by size (trommel is Dutch word for “drum”). A trommel specifically consists of a rotating metal tube that is slightly tilted, with a screen at the discharge end. Attached to the inside part of the metal tube are lifter bars. Ore is fed into the trommel through its elevated end. Pressurized water is supplied to the tube and the screen sections. Valuable minerals from the ore are separated by the combination of water and mechanical action. The small pieces of ore bearing the valuable minerals pass through the screen and are concentrated further in sluices. The larger ones (those that do not pass through the screen) are moved to a waste stack using a conveyor.

Today, placer mining goes on in many parts of the world as a source of gems and industrial metals and minerals. This is true in countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Placer mining for placer gold continues in British Columbia, the Yukon, and especially in Alaska.

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The Four Platinum Bullion Coins: A Brief Description Of Each

The following article covers a topic that has recently moved to center stage–at least it seems that way. If you’ve been thinking you need to know more about it, here’s your opportunity.

Bullion coins are coins made from precious metals. Their market values are determined by their inherent precious metal contents. As such bullion coins are mainly kept as investments or stores of value.

Most of the bullion coins available are made from silver or gold. A few also come in platinum though, including the American Platinum Eagle, the Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf, the Australian Platinum Koala, and the Manx Noble. Here’s a quick rundown of each of these four platinum bullion coins:

The American Platinum Eagle:

The American Platinum Eagle bullion coins were first minted and released in 1997 by the United States Mint. They are offered in four varieties:

1. 1/10 ounce (oz.) coin – With a face value of USD10, 3.112 grams (g) in weight, 0.95 millimeters (mm) thick, and 16.5 mm in diameter.

2. 1/4 oz. coin – With a face value of USD25, 7.78 g in weight, 1.32 mm thick, and 22 mm in diameter.

3. 1/2 oz. coin – With a face value of USD50, 15.56 g in weight, 1.75 mm thick, and 27 mm in diameter.

4. 1 oz. coin – With a face value of USD100, 31.12 g in weight, 2.39 mm thick, and 32.7 mm in diameter.

All coin varieties consist of 0.9995 fine platinum. One interesting feature of the American Platinum Eagle coin is that its reverse design changes every year.

The Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf:

The Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf bullion coins were issued from 1988 until 2002 by the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM). They were offered in four varieties: 1/10 oz. coin (with a face value (FV) of CD5), 1/4 oz. coin (FV: CD10), 1/2 oz. coin (FV: CD20), and 1 oz. coin (FV: CD50).

Two additional varieties, 1/20 oz. coin (FV: CD1) and 1/15 oz. coin (FV: CD2), were issued by RCM, but only in 1994. In 2009, the 1 oz. coin was reintroduced. All coins, which have legal tender status in Canada, consist of 0.9995 pure platinum.

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The Australian Platinum Koala:

The Australian Platinum Koala bullion coins were first released in 1988 by the Perth Mint, the oldest currently operating mint in Australia. The coin comes in 1 oz. variety, with a face value of AD100. As with most other bullion coins, this value is much lower than the coin’s bullion value.

On the coin’s obverse is a koala, in sunken relief (i.e., lowered from the coin’s plane); on the reverse is Queen Elizabeth II. The coin has legal tender status in Australia.

The Manx Noble:

The Manx Noble platinum bullion coins were minted from 1983 to 1989 by the Pobjoy Mint, the leading private mint in Europe. The coins were offered in five varieties:

1. 1/20 oz. coin – With 1.555 g platinum content, 1.556 g in weight, and 13.9 mm in diameter.

2. 1/10 ounce coin – With 3.11 g platinum content, 3.112 g in weight, and 16.5 mm in diameter.

3. 1/4 ounce coin – With 7.776 g platinum content, 7.78 g in weight, and 22 mm in diameter.

4. 1/2 ounce coin – With 15.552 g platinum content, 15.6 g in weight, and 27 mm in diameter.

5. 1 ounce coin – With 31.103 g platinum content, 31.119 g in weight, and 32.7 mm in diameter.

The coins have no currency value. Their value, rather, is equal to their respective platinum contents. All coins consist of 0.9995 pure platinum.

On the coin’s obverse is Queen Elizabeth II, along with these texts: “ISLE OF MAN” and “ELIZABETH II”. On the reverse are a Viking ship, the denomination, platinum content, and the words “Platinum fine”.

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Gold Standard: Definition And The Three Distinct Kinds

The gold standard is defined in many different reference materials as a monetary system in which the unit of currency used is a fixed quantity or weight of gold. Under this system, all forms of money, including notes and bank deposits, were freely converted into gold at the fixed price.

There are three known kinds of gold standard that have been adopted since the early 1700s – the gold specie, gold exchange, and gold bullion standards. Following is the definition and a brief historical account of each.

Gold Specie Standard:

In this gold standard, the unit of currency is linked to the gold coins that are in circulation. More specifically, the monetary unit is associated with the unit of value of a specific gold coin in circulation along with that of any secondary coinage (coins made of metal that is valued less than gold).

Recorded history points to the existence of a gold specie standard in medieval empires. For example, the Eastern Roman Empire made use of a gold coin called Byzant (from the original Greek term Bezant). The first known major area in the world to be on a gold specie standard in modern times is the British West Indies. That standard, however, was more of a commonly applied system rather than an officially established one. It was based on the Spanish gold coin called the doubloon.

The United States adopted the gold specie standard “de jure” (by law) in 1873, using the American Gold Eagle as unit.

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Gold Exchange Standard:

In this gold standard, only the circulation of coins minted from lesser valuable metals (such as silver) may be involved. The authorities, however, will have undertaken a fixed exchange rate with a country that’s on the gold standard.

Before the turn of the 20th century, countries that were still on silver standard started pegging their monetary units to the gold standard of either the United States or the United Kingdom. For example, Mexico, the Philippines, and Japan pegged their respective silver units to the U.S. dollar at fifty cents.

Gold Bullion Standard:

In this gold standard, gold bullion is sold on demand at a fixed price. It was introduced in 1925 by the British Parliament in an act which at the same time voided the gold specie standard. Six years later, the United Kingdom decided to temporarily stop the gold bullion standard because of the large amount of gold that flowed out across the Atlantic Ocean. The gold standard eventually ended that same year.

One of the advantages of the gold standard is that it sort of restricts the government’s power in inflating prices, which is possible through excessive issuance of paper currency. Also by providing a fixed pattern of exchange rates, the gold standard may effectively lessen uncertainty in international trade.

As to its disadvantage, the gold standard may make monetary policy ineffective in stabilizing the economy in the event of a general slowdown in economic activity. This is likely, as many economists fear, since under the gold standard the supply of gold would be the exclusive determinant to the amount of money.

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Three Methods Of Assay For Raw Precious Metals

The only way to keep up with the latest about Precious Metals is to constantly stay on the lookout for new information. If you read everything you find about Precious Metals, it won’t take long for you to become an influential authority.

Items of jewelry or art made of precious metals are hallmarked based on specific requirements either of the country of import or the place of manufacture. Such items, particularly those made of silver, gold, or platinum, are struck with an official mark (or series of marks), which guarantees fineness or purity of the metal used.

To determine the precious metal content in an item, certain non-destructive assay techniques are used. Two examples are the touchstone method (a very old assay method) and the X-ray fluorescence method (the modern, non-destructive assay method). While these assay methods are suited for finished goods (again because they are non-destructive), three other methods are more suited for raw precious metals:


This assay method is one of the most widely used laboratory technique, which involves the analysis and determination of unknown concentration of a given reactant. It is used to assay silver bullion or stock. In this method, a reagent (titrant) of a known volume and concentration is utilized to react with a solution of the substance being analyzed (titrand), whose concentration is unknown.

With the use of an instrument called burette (to add the titrant), the exact consumed amount, on reaching the endpoint, can be determined. The endpoint refers to the point at which the assay is complete. The completion is signaled by an indicator. There are at least four types of titration. These are acid-base, redox, complexometric, and Zeta potential.

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This technique is considered the most exact, elaborate, and destructive method of assay and is best suited for gold bullion or stock. Also called fire assay, the method involves treating ores or alloyed metals under high temperatures and carefully controlled operations to separate gold from base metals (copper, zinc, or lead), which may be present in the ore. Once the base metals are heated at high temperatures, the gold (as well as the other precious metals that may be present) remains apart and the other non-precious metals react forming other compounds. Cupellation basically has two processes: large scale and small scale.


This method is best used to assay platinum bullion or stock. With the use of a spectrometer or spectrograph, the amount or concentration of a given substance is assessed. The substances are identified through the spectrum they absorb or emit. This assay method has several types. These include absorption, fluorescence, X-ray, flame, visible, ultraviolet, infrared, photoemission, Mossbauer, nuclear magnetic resonance, and Raman.

Again, the X-ray fluorescence (XRF) method is the modern assay method widely used today for analyzing precious metals, including (besides silver, gold, and platinum) rhenium, ruthenium, iridium, and palladium. As a non-destructive assay method, XRF can identify various elements in a substance (in fact, even in powder and liquid ones) within a few minutes.

One of the most important aspects in any of the assay methods pertains to the accurate determination of the composition of a substance at various points in the process. Controlling and minimizing metal losses can only be achieved through close monitoring of the composition of the work in progress.

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The Six Precious Metals Of The Platinum Group

Do you ever feel like you know just enough about Precious Metals to be dangerous? Let’s see if we can fill in some of the gaps with the latest info from Precious Metals experts.

In the periodic table of elements, six metallic elements are bunched together in the d-block, specifically in groups 8 to 9, periods 5 and 6. All transition metals, these six elements are collectively referred to as the “platinum group metals”. These precious metals tend to occur with one another in mineral deposits. Likewise, they are alike in both chemical and physical properties.

In the order of their arrangement in the periodic table, the six metallic elements of the platinum group are ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum. A brief description of each of these precious metals is provided below.

1. Ruthenium – This element is represented by the symbol Ru. Its atomic number is 44. It is mostly found in platinum ores and often used in platinum alloys as a catalyst. Its two main physical characteristics refer to its hardness as a metal and to its silvery-white color. The former characteristic makes ruthenium ideal for use in making wear-resistance electrical contacts. The price of this precious metal as of January 2010 is estimated to be about USD173 per troy ounce (USD5,562 per kilogram).

2. Rhodium – This element is represented by the symbol Rh. Its atomic number is 45. Its occurrence is similar to that of ruthenium, and its primary use is as a catalytic converter. Rhodium is considered perhaps the rarest element. It is also known to be the most expensive precious metal, with a price estimated to be about USD2,750 per troy ounce (USD88,415 per kilogram) as of January 2010.

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3. Palladium – This element is represented by the symbol Pd. Its atomic number is 46. It is also considered one of the rarest precious metals. Palladium closely resembles its co-member in the platinum group – platinum. It is soft and is silvery-white in color. Like rhodium, palladium is largely used as a catalytic converter. As of January 2010, the price of this metal is estimated to be approximately USD424 per troy ounce (USD13,632 per kilogram).

4. Osmium – This element is represented by the symbol Os. Its atomic number is 76. It is found in nature as an alloy in platinum ores. Osmium is considered the densest natural element. It is brittle and is blue-gray in color. Because of its hardness, osmium is alloyed with the other metals in its group and used in electrical contacts and high-quality fountain pen tips. The price of osmium, as of January 2010, is about USD32.15 per troy ounce (USD12,217 per kilogram).

5. Iridium – This element is represented by the symbol Ir. Its atomic number is 77. Like osmium, iridium is very hard and brittle; it has a different color though – silvery-white. Its principal use is for electrical purposes, mainly because of its density and its high resistance to corrosion even at extremely high temperatures. Iridium is considered the fourth least abundant element in the Earth’s crust, after rhenium, ruthenium, and rhodium. Its price is estimated to be about USD408 per troy ounce (USD13,117 per kilogram) as of January 2010.

6. Platinum – This element, after which this group of precious metals is named, is represented by the symbol Pt. Its atomic number is 78. Platinum is dense, ductile, and malleable; it is gray-white in color. Known to be highly resistant to corrosion, this precious metal is used in jewelry, electrical contacts, and laboratory equipment. Its price, as of January 2010, is USD1,555 per troy ounce (USD49,995 per kilogram), making it the second most expensive precious metal, after rhodium.

Evident from the description of each of these six precious metals is that all of them have outstanding catalytic properties and high resistance to tarnish and wear. These characteristics make any of them well suited for fine jewelry. Additionally, their excellent resistance to extremely high temperatures makes them ideal for many different industrial uses.

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Rhenium: Last Naturally Occurring Stable Precious Metal Discovered

When you’re learning about something new, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of relevant information available. This informative article should help you focus on the central points.

In the periodic table of elements, rhenium is found as a third-row transition metal in group 7. Known to be one of the rarest precious metals in the Earth’s crust, rhenium has an average concentration of 1 part per billion. It is obtained mainly as a by-product of the refinement of two other chemical elements – copper and molybdenum.

Rhenium was discovered as a trace element in the mineral columbite and in platinum ores. Three German chemists – Otto Berg and the couple Walter Noddack and Ida Tacke – made the discovery in 1925. This find made rhenium the last identified naturally occurring precious metal with stable isotopes. Actually, naturally occurring rhenium is composed of 2 stable isotopes and 26 unstable ones.

Following is a list of some of the properties of rhenium:


? Chemical Symbol: Re

? Atomic Number: 75

? Category (as an element): Transition Metal

? Group/ Period/ Block (in the Periodic Table): 7/ 6/ d

? Atomic Weight: 186.207 g.mol-1

? Electron Configuration: [Xe] 4f14 5d5 6s2


? Density (near room temperature): 21.02

? Liquid Density (at melting point): 18.9

? Melting Point: 3186°C, 5767°F, 3459°K

? Boiling Point: 5596°C, 10105°F, 5869°K

? Heat of Fusion: 60.43 kJ.mol-1

? Heat of Vaporization: 704 kJ.mol-1

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? Oxidation States: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, -1

? Electronegativity: 1.9 (Pauling scale)

? Atomic Radius: 137 picometre

? Covalent Radius: 151±7 picometre

? Ionization Energies: 760 kJ.mol-1 (first), 1260 kJ.mol-1 (second), 2510 kJ.mol-1 (third)

Rhenium is silvery-white in appearance. It is the third element (after tungsten and carbon) with the highest melting point and the fourth densest (after platinum, iridium, and osmium). Commercially, rhenium is traded in powder form. Its principal application is in the making of certain parts of jet engines. Here, the metal is added to high-temperature nickel-based superalloys.

Other uses of rhenium are as follows:

1. As catalysts in making lead-free, high-octane gasoline.

2. As filaments in making ion gauges, mass spectrographs, and photoflash lamps.

3. As electrical contact materials, due to its high resistance to arc corrosion and wear.

4. As catalysts for hydrogenation of fine chemicals, because of its high resistance to chemical poisoning from phosphorus, sulfur, and nitrogen.

5. As treatment for liver cancer, because of its radioactive isotopes.

Rhenium resources are identified in several countries, which include Chile, Peru, Armenia, Mexico, Russia, Canada, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The estimated total resource from these eight countries is 6,000 tonnes (6 million kilograms).

The United States alone, on the other hand, has an estimated total resource of 5,000 tonnes (5 million kilograms). These are identified in the states of Arizona, Miami, and Utah. But in spite of these significant resources, the U.S. continues to import a big part of its total consumption of the precious metal from some of the countries mentioned above.

Since rhenium and its compounds are used in very small amounts, very little is known about their toxicity. So far, only a few rhenium compounds have been tested for toxicity, and these include rhenium trichloride and potassium perrhenate.

The price of rhenium is about 250 U.S. dollars per troy ounce (about 8,300 U.S. dollars per kilogram).

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Largest Gold Nuggets Discovered: Welcome Stranger And Hand Of Faith

Are you looking for some inside information on Precious Metals? Here’s an up-to-date report from Precious Metals experts who should know.

Gold nuggets are naturally occurring large masses of native gold found in alluvial deposits. Often they are concentrated by watercourses and recovered by placer mining. In other instances, gold nuggets are found in piles of residue in sites where mining operations once took place.

Two gold nuggets are noted for being the largest masses of gold ever discovered. These are the “Welcome Stranger” and the “Hand of Faith”. Their respective “largest” titles, however, carry further qualifications.

The Welcome Stranger Gold Nugget:

The exact distinction given of this gold nugget is: “the largest alluvial gold nugget ever found”. It was discovered on February 5, 1869 at Moliagul, a small township in Victoria, Australia about 37 miles west of the city of Bendigo. The discoverers, John Deason and Richard Oates, found the nugget just a couple inches below the surface on a slope in a place that’s sometimes called Black Reef.

Records have the following details about the Welcome Stranger:

? Gross weight: 3,523.5 troy ounces (241.61 pounds)

? Trimmed weight: 2,520 troy ounces (172.8 pounds)

? Net weight: 2,315.5 troy ounces (158.78 pounds)

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? Measurement: 2 feet (0.61 meter) x 1.02 feet (0.31 meter)

For their find, Deason and Oates were paid about £19,068 by the London Chartered Bank (located in the town of Dunolly in Victoria), where they took the nugget.

The Welcome Stranger no longer exists today, although the gold from it understandably still does. Also, there exist two replicas of the nugget. One is in possession of the descendants of John Deason, while the other is in the City Museum in Treasury Place, in Melbourne.

The Hand of Faith Gold Nugget:

This gold nugget actually carries two distinctions: “the largest gold nugget found by a metal detector” and “the largest gold nugget currently in existence”. It was discovered on September 26, 1980 somewhere near the small town of Kingower in Victoria, Australia.

The nugget’s discoverer, Kevin Hillier, was aided by a metal detector in this precious find. Hillier found the nugget in a vertical position just a foot below the surface.

The Hand of Faith weighs 874.82 troy ounces (60 pounds) and measures 1.54 feet (0.47 meter) x 0.66 feet (0.20 meter) x 0.30 feet (0.09 meter). The Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada currently houses the nugget. Its sale price was reportedly around 1 million U.S. dollars.

Gold nuggets actually are not composed of pure 24K gold. A safer estimate would be that they’re somewhere between 20K and 23K. Those found in Australia often have higher purity than the ones found in Alaska. The color of a nugget often provides a clue as to the purity of its gold content. Nuggets that have very rich deep orange/yellow color are sure to have higher gold content than pale ones.

Also, there is a system called “millesimal fineness” which is used to denote the purity of gold alloy (also of silver and platinum alloys) by parts per thousand of pure metal by mass in the alloy. A nugget containing 91.6% gold, for example, is denoted as “916 fine”. This fineness is equivalent to 22K.

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Bullion: Mass Of Precious Metals

Bullion is a mass of any one of the known precious metals. By strict definition, precious metals are those metallic elements that are rare. Bullion is commonly made of either gold or silver. Its value is determined by the worth of the metal rather than by its face value as money. To put it another way, bullion is valued based on the mass and purity of the metal used, instead of its artificial currency value.

New sources of ore have been discovered and there also have been improvements in the mining and refining processes. These two factors may cause the values of gold, silver, and the other precious metals to diminish. Also, the “precious” qualification of a metal is determined by the market value or high demand.

Bullion is traded on commodity markets in two forms: bulk ingots or coins, the latter minted by the government of a country. At least ten countries are known to mint gold and silver bullion coins. These are Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

While bullion coins are issued as legal tender, with nominal values assigned to them on minting, such face values are far below the commodity value of the metals themselves. Here’s an example: Most of the gold coins issued by national governments, particularly those with currency values of between 10 and 100 U.S. dollars, usually contain no less than 31 grams of gold. On the average (considering the consistent rise in the exchange rate of gold), the value of gold is around USD12 per gram. Here, it is clear that the currency value assigned by the government to a gold bullion coin has no meaning.

Below is a list of some of the government-issued gold and silver bullion coins:

1. Australian Gold Nugget, Lunar Series I, and Lunar Series II

2. Austrian Philharmoniker

3. Canadian Maple Leaf

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4. Chinese Gold Panda

5. Mexican Centenario, Libertad, and Onza

6. Polish Orzel bielik

7. South African Krugerrand

8. Swiss Vreneli

9. British Britannia and Sovereign

10. American Buffalo, American Eagle, and Double Eagle

The 10,000-dollar Australian Gold Nugget is one of the world’s largest bullion coins. Minted by the Australian government, this bullion coin is made of 1 kilogram of 99.9% pure gold. Some other bullion coins larger than the Australian Gold Nugget have come out. However, these are not produced in mass quantities and are not practical to handle. Two examples are given here: One is the 100,000-euro Vienna Philharmonic, minted in 2004, which contains 31 kilograms of gold; the other is the 1 million-dollar Canadian Maple Leaf, minted in 2007, which contains 100 kilograms of gold.

Three factors – metal, purity, and weight – affect the value of bullion. The overall value of bullion is determined by the metal used. We know, of course, that platinum is worth more than gold, which, in turn, is worth more than silver. It is easy to understand, therefore, that silver bullion coins have become popular with collectors because of their relative affordability.

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Palladium: Least Dense Of The Platinum Group Metals

Do you ever feel like you know just enough about Precious Metals to be dangerous? Let’s see if we can fill in some of the gaps with the latest info from Precious Metals experts.

Palladium is a rare precious metal characterized by its lustrous silvery-white appearance. It was discovered by the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston in London, England in 1803, along with his discovery (together with Smithson Tennant, another English chemist) of the other metals in the platinum group. The name “palladium” was coined by Wollaston from the asteroid named “Pallas”.

Of the different precious metals in the platinum group (which includes iridium, platinum, osmium, rhodium, and ruthenium), palladium is known to be the least dense. It likewise has the lowest melting point.

Palladium is utilized in many applications because of its unique properties, some of which are provided below.


? Chemical Symbol: Pd

? Atomic Number: 46

? Category (as an element): Transition Metal

? Group/ Period/ Block (in the Periodic Table): 10/ 5/ d

? Atomic Weight: 106.42 g.mol-1

? Electron Configuration: [Kr] 4d10


? Density (near room temperature): 12.023

? Liquid Density (at melting point): 10.38

? Melting Point: 1554.9°C, 2830.82°F, 1828.05°K

? Boiling Point: 2963°C, 5365°F, 3236°K

? Heat of Fusion: 16.74 kJ.mol-1

? Heat of Vaporization: 362 kJ.mol-1


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? Oxidation States: 0, +1, +2, +4, +6

? Electronegativity: 2.2 (Pauling scale)

? Atomic Radius: 137 picometre

? Covalent Radius: 139±6 picometre

? Van der Waals Radius: 163 picometre

? Ionization Energies: 804.4 kJ.mol-1 (first), 1870 kJ.mol-1 (second), 3177 kJ.mol-1 (third)

Palladium is used in the following:

1. Catalytic converters;

2. Jewelry and watch making;

3. Dentistry and surgical instruments;

4. Aircraft spark plugs;

5. Electrical contacts;

6. Connector platings;

7. Manuscript illumination.

Since the late 1930s, palladium has been utilized as a precious metal in jewelry. Because of its naturally white properties, palladium has been used as an alternative to white gold. Along with silver and nickel, palladium is popularly used in making white gold alloys.

According to the British Geological Survey (BGS), the top four palladium-producing countries in the world are Russia, South Africa, Canada, and the United States (in this order). Russia produces at least half of the total amount of palladium produced in the world.

Commercially, palladium is produced from copper-nickel deposits in Siberia, South Africa, and in Ontario in Canada. The precious metal is also found – alloyed with the other metals in the platinum group as well as with gold – in Ethiopia, Australia, North and South America, and in the Ural Mountains in Russia.

The Norilsk Nickel Mining and Metallurgical Company in northern Russia is the largest single producer of palladium in the world. Significant amounts of mineable palladium are also found in two other places: the Lac des Îles igneous complex in northwestern Ontario, Canada and the Stillwater igneous complex in the state of Montana in the United States.

Such is the rarity and preciousness of palladium that many metric tons of ore have to be processed to obtain just a troy ounce of the precious metal. The ISO currency codes of palladium, as a commodity, are XPD and 964. Its price is approximately 150 U.S. dollars per troy ounce.

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Gold And Silver: The Two Precious Traditional Coinage Metals

Have you ever wondered if what you know about Precious Metals is accurate? Consider the following paragraphs and compare what you know to the latest info on Precious Metals.

Four transition metals make up group 11 of the periodic table of elements. All, except one, are considered traditional coinage metals. Qualifying this further, only two of these three traditional coinage metals are considered precious metals. These are gold and silver.

Gold and silver are rare and have high economic values. These things can’t be said of copper, the other traditional coinage metal. Occurring in nature in metallic form, these two precious metals can be produced sans the use of extraction metallurgy. These other characteristics of gold and silver make them both well suited for coinage:

? They are not radioactive.

? They are more ductile or softer than most other elements.

? They are less reactive compared with other elements.

? They have excellent luster.

? They have higher melting points compared with other metals.

The high-ductility property of gold and silver means they can be easily damaged as coins for circulation. Coins intended for circulation must be highly resistant to corrosion and wear. For this reason, gold or silver must be alloyed with other metals (example, manganese) so that the resulting coins will come out harder, more wear-resistant, and not easily damaged or deformed.

As numismatic items, gold and silver coins are made almost entirely of the precious metals, respectively. Current collectible gold coins (the 22-carat gold coins), for example, are made of 92% gold, with silver and copper comprising the rest. The coins in circulation in the United States prior to 1933 were made of 90% gold and 10% copper-silver combined. Canada’s official gold bullion coin – The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf – is made of 99.999% gold; and so are these four other gold bullion coins:

Think about what you’ve read so far. Does it reinforce what you already know about Precious Metals? Or was there something completely new? What about the remaining paragraphs?

1. British Britannia (with a face value of 100 pounds).

2. Chinese Gold Panda (with face values of 500, 200, 100, 50, and 25 Yuan).

3. Swiss Helvetia Head (with face values of 100, 20, and 10 Swiss francs).

4. Austrian Vienna Philharmonic (with face values of 100, 50, 25, and 10 euros).

Silver coins, like the minted coins circulated in the United States and other countries prior to 1965, were made of 90% silver and 10% copper. The American Silver Eagle and the Mexican Silver Libertad bullion coins, introduced in 1986 and 1982 respectively, were made of 99.9% silver and 0.1% copper.

Other notable silver bullion coins include the Australian Silver Kookaburra, Chinese Silver Panda, and the Russian George the Victorious.

Minting coins, whether gold or silver, always entails the risk of having the value of the metal used in the coin greater than the coin’s face value. This is especially true in coins of low denomination. Because of this, there exists the possibility of some smelters taking gold or silver coins and melting these down for the scrap value of the precious metals.

A couple examples, in this regard, are worth mentioning here: US pennies have been made of copper-clad zinc since 1982, when they were before this time made of copper alloys; and British pennies were once made of 97% copper, but are now made of copper-plated steel.

As additional information, gold and silver both have a currency code of ISO 4217.

Take time to consider the points presented above. What you learn may help you overcome your hesitation to take action.

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