The world's 10 biggest palladium producers accounted for 6.5 million ounces of refined palladium in 2012, over 95 percent of primary production.
Russia'sNorilsk Nickel remains the world's largest producer by a significant margin, accounting for over 40 percent of total palladium production. Anglo Platinum (Amplats) and Impala Platinum (Implats) round out the top three and are the only other producers that refined over 1 million ounces last year.
Palladium is a soft, silvery platinum group metal that is used in the production of autocatalysts, multi-layer cell capacitors and jewellery. The metal's ability to absorb carbon monoxide and purify hydrogen makes it integral to the manufacture of automobile catalytic converters, which account for over half of all demand. Read More...
According to the Financial Times, banks and traders that form the core of London's gold market are collaborating in order to protect prices for the precious metal against manipulation.
In particular, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), which includes the likes of Barclays, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, is looking at whether benchmark gold prices that it publishes meet principles set out by international securities regulators.
The move comes in the wake of the Libor scandal, whereby the benchmark rate for interbank lending was manipulated by banks and brokers, resulting in fines of USD 3.5 billion.
The LBMA is an international association centred in London that represents the wholesale market for gold and silver, not only by setting prices twice daily, but also by working on refining and documentation standards. Read More...
As any whisky connoisseur knows, the metal in which a spirit is distilled can have a strong impact on the flavour profile of the product.
Sulphurous compounds, such as di-methyl trisulphide (DMTS), naturally form during the whisky distillation process. DMTS is an unwanted chemical that is associated with a rotten vegetable or rubbery smell.
By distilling in copper pots, or using copper column stills, these sulphery notes can be removed, leaving a whisky that has more fruity and floral aromas. Distillation in stainless steel, or less contact with copper during the disillation process, will result in spirit with 'off-notes' that smell sulphery or yeasty. Read More...
Accounting for more than one-third of the global tin supply, Indonesia is a major player in the market for the metal, which is primarily used in solders vital to the electronics industry.
Not surprisingly, then, Indonesian policies affecting the export of tin and tin ore have a direct and immediate impact on availability and prices for the metal.
For years, the country has been attempting to increase the amount of tin smelted domestically in order to export more value-added products. Numerous export restrictions have been implemented and it seems there is a perpetual discussion regarding new restrictions on exports of tin products. Read More...
While the timing of the strike is not yet decided, Implats and the union are still continuing talks to resolve wage issues - something all to familiar to the PGM industry.
The union is also in wage negotiations with Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin plc, two of the remaining three largest platinum producers.
Stainless steel was developed in the early 20th century as a more corrosion resistant version of traditional carbon steel.
In order to reduce corrosion, chromium is added to the alloy mixture. With a minimum content of 10.5 percent chromium, steel will naturally form a protective film on its surface, which reduces the deleterious effects of oxygen and other gases.
Other alloying elements, such as nickel, nitrogen and molybdenum, are also widely used in stainless steels in order to increase resistance to corrosion as well as strengthen the metal, making it suitable for specific environments. Different grades are classified by their granular structure.
After lunch, Juncong Feng, from the Chinese industrial statistics analysis organization Antaike, provided some insight on the country's germanium market.
China is the world's largest producer of germanium, a metalloid vital to the infra-red optics industry. Feng highlighted how growing domestic demand for germanium from China's telecom industry - which uses germanium chloride coated optical fibres - has reduced the quantity of the metal that is exported.
Closing the conference were analyses of two more metalloid markets, antimony and silicon.
John Lawrence, CEO of US Antimony Corporation, drew from his decades of experience in the niche market for antimony to provide some historical perspective on the global market for antimony before summarizing recent activity by his own company. Read More...
I had to take a couple weeks off to catch up on some work, but despite no longer being 'live' from Las Vegas, I want to finally complete my summary of presentations at this year's Metal Bulletin Minor Metals America's Conference.
It has long been Indium Corp.'s mantra that there is more than sufficient global indium reserves to meet expected demand.
While many investors are speculating on indium shortages, Ploessi emphasized that most growth in indium production historically has, and can continue to, come from existing sources via more efficient extractions techniques and greater recycling. Read More...
The morning of day two may not have been quite as enthusiastic as day one, but the quality of presentations at the Minor Metals Americas Conference were equal to - or even higher than - those yesterday.
Mario Coracides of Finmeccanica got us started off with a look at aerospace and super alloys. Finmeccanica produces a wide range of super alloy components for both military and commercial aircraft, including fuselages and stabilizers for Boeing 787s and wings for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
Mr. Coracides noted the importance of specialty metals in the aerospace sector, highlighting that engines for the 787 are comprised of 10 to 15 percent strategic and minor metals, including rhenium and rare earths. The remainder being comprised of nickel (30 percent), titanium (30 percent) and steel (20 percent). Read More...
In the afternoon, topics at the Minor Metals Americas Conference shifted to a more technical focus.
Bloomberg presented on their financial and information services for mining and commodities companies, while David Mayfield from Gradient discussed the regulatory issues that impact metals companies. The toxicologist's discussion of metal industry regulations segued well into our concluding talk on cadmium.
Cadmium is one of the most heavily regulated metals because of its toxicity, yet it is still an integral metal in specific applications. Hugh Morrow, an expert in the field and Senior Consultant from the International Cadmium Association, provided a thorough background on the minor metal, which is mainly found in nickel-cadmium batteries used in portable consumer (think hand-held power tools) and industrial energy storage. Read More...