Precious metals are naturally occurring rare chemical elements. Today the following metals are considered as precious metals: rhodium, platinum, gold, palladium, iridium osmium, rhenium, ruthenium, germanium, beryllium, silver, indium, gallium, tellurium, bismuth, and mercury. It is interesting to note that for quite some time aluminum was also considered as precious metal, but today that is no longer the case.
Precious metals have a high economic value and are often used as investment vehicles in trading, preservation of value, coinage, art and jewelry, and of course, the electronic and medical industries.
Looking at the supply of precious metals, for the 4 main metals gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, 70 to 80% of the yearly supply comes from new mining, the other 20 to 30% are retrieved through recycling (CME).
For Gold, the total global yearly supply is approximately 3’700 metric tons, worth about $150 billion. For comparison, silver exceeds 30’000 metric tons per year.
So, what are the potential problems that may occur when working with precious metals?
- Responsible sourcing
- Metal Purity