Do you know him? The most expensive metal on Earth, surpassed gold 10 times and is found in Latin America

A surprising discovery is shaking the world market: rhodium, a precious and rare metal, has surpassed the value of gold ten times. This metal, considered the most expensive on Earth, has become an invaluable resource for both the jewelry industry and for innovation in sustainable technologies.

During the past year, The value of rhodium reached an impressive peak of $28,775 per troy ounce, far surpassing the price of gold, which stood at $1,800 per troy ounce. Although this increase was exceptional, the value of rhodium is still more than double that of gold, making it a highly coveted element on the world market.

A sports vehicle in profile, with rhodium within its components | Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rhodium stands out for its luster and corrosion resistance, making it ideal for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications. It is used in the automotive industry, where it helps reduce polluting gas emissions, as well as in high-end jewelry, where it enhances the brilliance of gems.

The main deposits of rhodium are found in South Africa, especially in the Bushveld igneous complex, where it is mined along with platinum and palladium. In addition, smaller-scale deposits have been identified in countries such as Zimbabwe, the United States, Russia and Canada.

Miners in Venezuela
In mid-2022, the Venezuelan Ministry of Mining Development issued a press release reporting on the presence of rhodium deposits in the state of Bolívar. | Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A possible source of rhodium

Although Latin America is not known for its significant production of rhodium, it is presumed that there are extractions in places where platinum is mined, such as deposits in Colombia and Brazil. This discovery poses new opportunities and challenges for the region in terms of economic development and environmental sustainability.

Rhodium, a precious and extremely valuable metal, has its origins in Latin America. It was discovered in 1803 by the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston, who isolated it from a sample of platinum obtained in the region. The name “rhodium” comes from the Greek word “rhodon”, which means pink, in reference to the characteristic color of this metal.

This metal is highly coveted due to its unique properties. Mainly, it is used in the manufacture of converters for vehicles, where it acts as a catalyst to reduce polluting gas emissions. Its high resistance to corrosion and oxidation makes it an ideal material for protective coatings in the jewelry and chemical industries.

gold mining
Small and large scale miners use hydraulic techniques to extract deposits of gold and other metals such as rhodium, launching powerful jets of water into the ground, causing chemical pollution that has a major impact on the rainforest environment. | Photo: Getty Images

Although the export of rhodium is not prohibited in most countries, it may be subject to specific regulations and restrictions.

 
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