The majority of platinum is found in a small number of nations, with South Africa being the most prolific and Russia coming in second.
The pre-Columbian South American Indians are thought to have discovered and employed Platinum first, using it to create danglers, face studs, nose ornaments, figurines, and small masks. It wasn’t made known to western scientists until 1735.
This priceless metal is one of the rarest substances in the Earth’s crust and has a melting point of 1,768 °C. Despite having numerous industrial applications, little is produced.
What is Platinum?
Among the widely used precious metals, platinum is one of the rarest and most expensive. Platinum found in nature is not very pure. It frequently contains the rare metals platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, and ruthenium and is always accompanied by minor amounts of other elements (gold, copper, nickel, and iron).
South Africa is the country where the majority of the world’s platinum is mined, accounting for an astounding 80% of the metal’s global output. The bulk of South Africa’s production is produced in the Bushveld.
Other sizable platinum mines can be found in Ontario, Canada, the Ural Mountains in Russia, and the Chocó Department in Colombia. Additionally, a small amount is mined in Montana’s Absaroka Range.
When the ore was found there in the 1930s, the town of Platinum in Alaska was even given the rare element’s name. It was severely guarded to protect the location during the Second World War when it turned into a crucial source of platinum for the Allied war effort.
Although we are still a long way from even the most important space mining, it is thought that platinum exists in vast quantities outside of our planet, on the moon, and in meteorites.
Where is platinum to be found?
According to geology, platinum is typically found in ores that are deep down, mainly in the form of nuggets or grains, and it is generally alloyed with other metals like copper, nickel, and gold ores or the mineral sperrylite. Finding platinum on its own is unusual.
The platinum group refers to the rare metals platinum, palladium, osmium, and rhodium collectively. Additionally, they are frequently located in the same geological strata.
The narrow reef approach was used in earlier mining. In essence, that means blasting explosive-filled holes. Today, four more advanced techniques are more widely employed. They are drilling and pumping-based in-situ mining, open pit mining, sift mining from placer deposits or surface deposits, and underground mining.
After being mined, the priceless platinum and other platinum-group metals must endure a challenging extraction procedure. This is far more complicated than it is for other precious metals because of how similar the metals in the group are to one another.
Numerous items and gadgets, such as laboratory equipment, electrical contacts, dental equipment, computer hard drives, turbine blades, and more, employ platinum. Although platinum is most frequently associated with its extensive use in jewelry, the majority of its demand is actually met by catalytic converters for diesel engines in vehicles.