Sunday, January 29, 2006


A Look At Rhodium

One reader recommended some information on Rhodium. "Wollaston discovered rhodium in 1803-4 in crude platinum ore he presumably obtained from South America. Rhodium occurs native with other platinum metals in river sands of the Urals and in North and South America. It is also found with other platinum metals in the copper-nickel sulfide area of the Sudbury, Ontario region."

"The annual world production of rhodium is only 7 or 8 tons. The metal is silvery white and at red heat slowly changes in air to the resquioxide. At higher temperatures it converts back to the element. Rhodium has a higher melting point and lower density than platinum. Its primary use is as an alloying agent to harden platinum and palladium. Such alloys are used for furnace windings, thermocouple elements, bushings for glass fiber production, electrodes for aircraft spark plugs, and laboratory crucibles."

"It is useful as an electrical contact material as it has a low electrical resistance, a low and stable contact resistance, and is highly resistant to corrosion. Plated rhodium, produced by electroplating or evaporation, is exceptionally hard and is used for optical instruments. It has a high reflectance and is hard and durable. Rhodium is also used for jewelry, for decoration, and as a catalyst."

Rhodiums color is 'silver-white.' Characteristics include, 'forms hard coatings' and apparently doesn't react with air or some harsh chemicals.

Here are some price charts for Rhodium. "Rhodium is highly resistant to corrosion, and is extremely reflective. It is used as a finish for jewelry, mirrors, and search lights. It is also used in electric connections and is alloyed with platinum for aircraft turbine engines. Another use is manufacturing of nitric acid and used in hydrogenation of organic compounds. Rhodium usage is dominated by autocatalyst applications where it is used together with platinum and palladium to control exhaust emissions."

"South Africa is the major source, accounting for almost 60% of the world's rhodium supply Russia is the second largest producer, although its sales are, as with the other PGMs, volatile and subject to political intervention."

"Lonmin (LMI.LN) 1Q platinum output seen at 248,000 troy ounces, palladium seen at 115,000 troy ounces and rhodium seen at 36,000 troy ounces, according to a London based analyst. Another analyst reckons on platinum production of 242,500 troy ounces. 'We continue to be on track to meet our full-year target of around 1 million ounces of platinum sales,' said Lonmin CEO, Brad Mills."

This look at Rhodium shows why precious metals are precious. It's the basic characteristics. For instance, silver is incredibly useful and can be stretched into very fine wires, which is handy for miniaturization. Gold is almost indestructable, conducts electricity well and has the added advantage of being pleasant to look at. But people don't pay $500 per ounce because it's shiny.
Got curious about rhodium when it was on Kitco's short list. $380 to $3095 in two years demands respect. Keeping an eye on it...
Got curious about rhodium when it was on Kitco's short list. $380 to $3095 in two years demands respect. Keeping an eye on it...
# posted by TJ & The Bear : 11:30 PM

I have been amazed at the price increase over this period of time.

OT...Ben, I just wanted to thank you again for hosting this blog. PM's are starting to get a little more attention as we knew they would.

It's been said more than once,that deficits don't matter. Of course they do. Take a quick look at this link,the numbers really are mind boggling.
I have said this before, I prefer
silver...It will act as currency if
fiat becomes worthless and it should continue to increase if the
world economy expands, as it is also an industrial metal.
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