The eight videos (available here on youtube) are produced by Endeavour Silver Corp. and cover everything from the mining and extraction of silver to consumption and demand. There is also a good discussion of silver as a tool of investment.
The information in the videos is good background for anyone interested in production of the metal or considering silver as an investment. What I found particularly useful were the visuals provided of the production and refining processes, as well as the minting of silver coins. Read More...
Much of the talk regarding germanium this year was focused on whether the current price is reflective of market demand and, more importantly, the what the impact of high prices is having on downstream end-users.
Germanium, which is technically a metalloid, is used in the manufacture of infra-red (IR) optical lenses due to its high refractive index. The main driver for demand of the metal, consequently, has traditionally been Read More...
Among the presenters at this year's MMTA International Minor Metal's Conference was Brian O'Neill, Indium Manager at AIM Specialty Materials. Mr. O'Neill provided an effective summary of driving forces behind the current market for indium metal.
Demand for the soft, silvery metal has grown significantly over the past decade, primarily due to its use in transparent films that are deposited on flat panel display screens. Indium-tin-oxide (ITO) coatings offer high optical transparency and low electrical resistance, making them an ideal choice for coatings on the surface of flat screen televisions and touch screen phones.
Just back from the Minor Metals Trade Association annual International Minor Metals Conference, this year held in Washington DC.
Much of the discussion around the conference this year was on rhenium metal. Perhaps this shouldn't have been a surprise, considering the overwhelming representation by producers and consumers (by some estimates producers accounting for roughly 80 percent of total global rhenium output were represented in attendance).
While recyclers and traders, who account for a large portion of the metal bought and sold each year, are feeling pressure from persistently low prices, the aerospace industry, which is a major consumer of rhenium, is worried that growing demand in coming years will lead to price spikes.
While lead has traditionally been the metal of choice for x-ray and gamma radiation shielding, lead's long-term negative effects on human health and the environment has encouraged the development of alternative options.
Radiation shielding must be provided anywhere where x-rays are taken. Think of the heavy apron that you wear while the dentist takes x-ray images of your teeth.
Although lead is still widely used in medical offices, tungsten polymer shielding is becoming a more commonly used solution.
Formed from tungsten powder and polymer resins, tungsten shielding can be as effective at attenuating (or blocking) radiation as lead and is lighter in weight. Read More...
When Adam Scott putted in for birdie at August late on Sunday he was holding a Scotty Cameron Futura X Prototype putter.
Although the exact design specs have yet to be released,< the Futura X Prototype appears to follow the design pattern of Scotty Cameron's Kombi-S, or Big Sur S, putter, which Scott had previously been using.
The head of the Big Sur is crafted from aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum and weighted with stainless steel sole weights that make-up 75 percent of the putter's weight. In the Futura X Prototype, the u-shaped rear section holds two stainless steel weights in the heel and toe.
6061 aluminum is a precipitation hardened aluminum that contains magnesium, silicon, chromium and copper as alloying elements. Corrosion resistant and weldable, the alloy is often used in aircraft wings and fuselages, as well as marine and automotive parts.
6061 is one of the most readily available aluminum alloys, which is good, because Scotty Cameron will probably be looking for more after the Aussie's Masters win. Read More...
While cobalt may be better known for its use in batteries and super-alloys, it has recently also found its way in to the music industry.
Guitar string designer and manufacturer Ernie Ball Inc. has developed strings that are made from the most magnetically active metal - cobalt.
Cobalt is only one of three metals that are naturally magnetic (the others being iron and nickel). And, according to the designers, it is the metal's stronger magnetic relationship between pickups and strings that provides guitarists with an extended dynamic range, an increased low end and crisper, clearer highs.
The string design requires iron-cobalt alloy to be wound around a high carbon steel core. This makes the wires softer, more flexible and better able to resist moisture than traditional nickel-wound strings. Read More...
What does it take to peer deep into space?
Well, if the scientists at NASA are correct, you could begin with beryllium metal.
A key component of NASA's huge new space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is being billed as the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is an 18 segment beryllium mirror system.
Once in orbit (scheduled for launch in 2018), the 4.2-foot (1.3 meters) hexagonal mirror segments will unfold to create a 21.3-foot (6.5 m) primary mirror.
The benefit of beryllium is that it is stiff, light (it is the second lightest metal element) and Read More...
Over half of silver demand now comes from industrial applications, primarily in the electronics and medical fields.
Recently, silver has become a particularly hot topic among investors, with many analysts expecting that demand for the precious metal may exceed supply in the coming years, pushing prices much higher.
Those who believe that silver prices are due to increase have been pointing out that, historically, the price ratio between gold and silver has been around 16:1, while, at the moment, it is over 50:1.
While industrial demand remains relatively stable, investors may be the catalyst for higher prices through speculative moves that could pull material from the market. Read More...
Following on my previous post, I wanted to point out a related and interesting infographic produced by Visual Capitalist entitled The Next Frontier of Mining. The infographic examines the "5 Most Interesting Ways We Are Exploring for Mineral Wealth".
But other unique sources that could alter the way we extract metals in 21st century include nuclear waste, which also contain PGMs such as rhodium and palladium, as well as shipwrecks and sea floor hydrothermal vents.
See the infographic here.