What are the top ten platinum facts?
Two metals that are instantly recognizable as being valuable are gold and silver. Even today, they are coveted and have been sought-after by many an investor. An often-overlooked metal that is just as valuable as those two is platinum.
Much like gold and silver, platinum experiences round-the-clock trading in global commodities markets. During routine periods of stability in markets and politics, it fetches a higher price (per troy ounce) than gold. The reason for this being that it is simply a much rarer metal. Platinum is actually harder to produce than gold because it is buried deeper in the ground than gold. What’s more, purifying it is a strenuous process.
Investing in platinum offers a unique option within the precious metals market. Extended usage in various industries in addition to limited availability, effectively creates shifts in platinum’s supply and demand dynamics.
This article will go over 10 interesting facts about platinum. From its benefits for controlling pollution to its mining operations, there is a lot to learn about this metal.
1. Platinum-based jewelry is experiencing significant success worldwide, particularly with younger generations.
Platinum is a very popular material in the jewelry-making field. The downside is that platinum is a heavy metal and is more expensive in comparison to diamond and gold. Furthermore, platinum is susceptible to scratches and dents, again, in comparison to gold. However, it is capable of securely holding diamonds and other precious stones. This ability is what will likely keep the market demand for platinum jewelry continuous. Other similar types of materials include silver, steel, and copper, which are regularly used in fashion and imitation jewelry.
One continent that platinum-based jewelry predominantly shines in is Asia. In 2019, Asia Pacific stood at USD 130.49 and to this day is the dominating region concerning jewelry. What contributes to the increasing consumption is the fact that this region has a large number of key players. These include Tanishq, Queelin, Malabar Gold and Diamonds, and Wallace Shan, among others.
2. In comparison to palladium, platinum is a better tool for combating pollution caused by smoke emissions.
In recent years, there has been a major surge in traffic density. The diesel-engined road transport vehicle has subsequently become the target of criticism from the public. The core point of this intense reproach focuses on the emission of smoke and the odor that stems from the vehicles’ exhaust gases.
The exhaust gases that diesel engines emit are a health hazard on top of just being a nuisance to the public. Minimizing these emissions is possible through careful engine design. With that said, catalytic combustion provides a comparatively more effective purification technique. This is where platinum comes into play, as THT catalysts are incorporating platinum into test units. This in turn led to excellent results. They are proving to be quite suitable for bot diesel-engined road vehicles and diesel operating in enclosed conditions.
Historically speaking, a gap developing between platinum and palladium results in carmakers switching to the cheaper metal. This is primarily due to both acting as catalysts in the conversion of noxious gases like carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide into less toxic compounds.
3. Platinum is one of the heaviest metals by relative atomic mass.
Platinum is one of the densest precious metals. Being denser than gold means that it is more convenient and less of a hassle to transport. It may appear less impressive given its size, but it does not detract from the metal’s overall value.
4. Platinum has outperformed gold.
The demand for platinum has the potential to increase. This is thanks to manufacturers realizing that it is a cheaper alternative to palladium, a metal that has similar industrial uses. Think about how platinum credit cards offer more rewards, and platinum records tend to see higher sales than their gold counterparts. Similar to this, platinum prices could maintain their luster and outshine gold once more.
5. Platinum is an incredibly flexible metal that does not break easily and can be stretched.
Ductility is the measurement of a metal’s ability to endure tensile stress. Any force that pulls an object’s two ends away from each other. High-ductility metals (ex. copper) can be drawn into long, thin wires without splitting. Metals such as gold, platinum, and silver are frequently drawn into long strands for use in jewelry. While both gold and platinum are the most ductile metals, the latter beats the former when it comes to ductility.
Malleability means that it can be extended or shaped by being beaten with a hammer or by pressure from rollers. While ductility and malleability may appear similar, ductile metals are not technically malleable, and vice versa. Therefore, while gold is definitely more malleable, platinum’s ductility is stronger and allows it to be stretched easier.
6. As of 2020, the supply for platinum is slightly outpacing demand.
In 2019, platinum remained in surplus, with the total of newly refined supply exceeding fabrication demand. Investors were actively purchasing this surplus, during which the price was on the decline. However, they had reservations when it came to aggressively boosting the price to add platinum to their holdings.
7. Platinum has various medical applications.
Doctors use platinum drugs as a treatment method for an array of cancer types, both alone and with other drugs. Agents containing platinum are drugs or drug candidates that are crucial for cancer chemotherapy. Traditional platinum drugs like cisplatin, carboplatin, and oxaliplatin are neutral platinum (II) complexes consisting of two amine ligands and two additional ligands that can be applied for further NDA binding.
The platinum-DNA adducts can hinder the cellular process and result in cellular apoptosis. Tumor resistance to platinum drugs is a tricky problem to conquer. Individualized cancer treatment that utilizes numerous strategies to evade the resistance of platinum drugs in cancer patients is critical. Structural alteration of traditional platinum drugs, combination therapy of platinum drugs with other agents, and better platinum-drug distribution to tumor sites are major tactics. Ones whose creation was meant to overcome issues in chemotherapy by using conventional platinum drugs.
8. The majority of the world’s platinum comes from one country.
South Africa provides over 70% of primary mined platinum supply, as well as more than 55% of the total supply. And this includes recycling. Therefore, the supply conditions of South Africa have a huge influence on global supply, which should impact the platinum price. The demand for platinum originates predominantly from the autocatalysts (40%), jewelry (34%), and overall industrial demand.
The output from South Africa’s 130-year-old gold industry would slump during the previous three decades. The reason for this steady collapse comes from geological challenges stemming from operating the world’s deepest mines, boosting costs. In the 1920s, Hans Merensky discovered that the platinum deposits contain approximately three-quarters of the world’s known resources. They would later be exploited in the 1950s when there came a rush of demand from carmakers incorporating the metal to reduce exhaust pollution.
9. There is less platinum in car construction due to technological advancements.
Real-world testing will be able to encourage manufacturers to use ‘Selective Catalytic Reduction’ (SCR). This system typically uses about 20% less platinum than Lean NOx Trap (LNT). Basic catalytic converters utilize platinum and palladium in their system to generate a chemical reaction that processes polluting gases like carbon monoxide to cleanse them.
Platinum is a more common ingredient in diesel autocatalysts and is favored in the European car market. Gasoline catalysts normally see much heavier loadings of palladium. Diesel’s lower CO2 emissions imply that it continues to be a popular choice for carmakers that have specific carbon dioxide targets. Taking technological advances into account, clean diesel is readily available and will become commonplace upon the introduction of real-world testing.
10. Production levels of South African mining are dropping and may continue to drop.
South Africa is one of the leading nations behind platinum production. Unless the mining industry in South Africa can improve its cost-competitiveness, sharper declines in its fortunes may occur soon. Research conducted by McKinsey would reveal that 47% of South African jobs, as well as 42% of revenues, are in a vulnerable position of global cost competitiveness. The transition to clean energy, a shift in China’s focus from infrastructure development to new technologies, and other trends could diminish the demand for South African mining commodities.
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