Palladium is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal that was discovered by William Hyde Wollaston in 1803. It belongs to the Platinum Group of Metals (PGM). Benefits of Palladium:
It has the lowest melting point and density among the PGM
It has a high resistance to oxidation and corrosion
It does not tarnish in air
It has superior catalytic properties due to the fact that it has the astounding capability to absorb hydrogen gas at a rate of 900 times its own volume. When it is annealed it becomes soft and ductile and when cold-worked it becomes stronger and harder It is chemically stable and conductive and thus has several useful applications Applications of Palladium:
Palladium has uses in electronics, dentistry, jewelry, coinage, fuel cells, oil refining, polyester, photography, chemical uses, water treatment and many more areas Auto-catalysts are by-far the largest users of Palladium
Automobile Industry and Palladium:
Most automobiles use catalytic converters made from palladium. It is used as a catalyst for hydrogenation/dehydrogenation reactions and for petroleum cracking. Palladium provides cost advantages over platinum and it can handle higher temperatures, thus most automobile manufacturers use Palladium and there is great demand for it. Consumption will beat production by 511,000 ounces in 2013, or about what the car industry uses every seven weeks, Barclays Plc estimates. The number of automobiles is projected to double in the next 30 years, which means the demand for Palladium is going to increase significantly. Sources of Palladium:
Palladium occurs in nature as a free metal and can also be alloyed with gold, platinum and other platinum group metals in placer deposits of the Ural Mountains, Australia, Ethiopia, North and South America. The most important commercial sources are nickel-copper deposits found in the Sudbury Basin, Ontario, and the Norilsk–Talnakh deposits in Siberia. Palladium is found in the rare minerals cooperite and polarite. Palladium is also produced in nuclear fission reactors and can be extracted from spent nuclear fuel though this source for palladium is not used The Big Three:
The 3 major suppliers of Palladium are Russia - 41%, South Africa - 40% and North America - 12%. Together these 3 countries provide 93% of the world’s Palladium and Russia and South Africa account for 80% of the world’s Palladium supply.
Who are the major suppliers and where are they located?
Russia: Provides nearly half of the world’s Palladium supply. Russia has three sources of palladium: the Norilsk Nickel mine which produces the majority, Gokhran and the Russian Central Bank. The state-owned trading monopoly, Almazyuvelirexport, handles palladium shipments from Russia. The company NORILSK NICKEL is the global industry leader in palladium. The mines are located in Northern Siberia and on the Kola Peninsula and produce 2.7 million ounce of Palladium annually. The palladium mined by this company is insufficient to fulfill the world demand; therefore Russia has filled the deficit from large state stockpiles. It is a secret as to how much Palladium these stockpiles contain.
South Africa: The other large deposit is the Merensky Reef platinum group metals deposit within the Bushveld Igneous Complex South Africa. Anglo Platinum’s centre of operations is South Africa but it also conducts operations in Canada, Russia, Brazil and China. It produces more than one million ounces of Palladium annually. Lonmin Platinum, Aquarius Platinum and Northam Platinum are the other big South African Suppliers of Palladium.
United States: Stillwater Mining Company in Montana is the only American producer of palladium. The two main sites are located 110 miles southwest of Billings, Montana, and the East Boulder Project, located just 15 miles west of Stillwater Valley. It produces 450,000 ounces of Palladium annually.
Canada: The Roby zone ore body of the Lac des Îles igneous complex of Ontario is...
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