Although, considered to be one of rarest and most costly metals, the use of platinum is wide spread. Platinum is part of PGMs (Platinum Group Metals) which also includes Palladium, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Iridium, Osmium.

In the ground it is usually located within ore mixed with other metals such as Gold, Nickel, or Copper. Its special characteristics include; resistance to oxidation and corrosion, high melting temperature and is good conductor of electricity and acts as catalyzing agent.

Platinum can also be found in what are call Alluvial deposits which are sands and gravels, transported by a river and deposited at points on the river’s flood plains.

Early Discoveries Of Where Platinum Is Found

Where is platinum found ? Though it is new in the present form, Platinum discovery dates back to prior to 700 B.C. in early history. In modern history in 1492, the first Columbian landing in America. In Europe, it was discovered by Julius Caesar Scaliger in 1557.

Extraction of first sample of pure platinum was successful in the early 1800, by British Chemist W.H.Wollaston. In fact, his technique forms the basis for the modern platinum metallurgy. The processing techniques of Platinum were highly complex because of its high melting point. However, the use of platinum in jewelry increased in a short span of time because of the beauty and durability of the metal.

Countries Where Platinum Is Found

South Africa:

Where is platinum found ? South Africa is the largest producer of platinum supplying approximately 3/4 of the platinum in the world today. . The Merensky Reef is the rock in Transvaal in South Africa which contains the most of Platinum Group Metals. The rock is situated in Bushveld Igneous Complex. .

It was discovered by Mr. Hans Merensky in the year 1924 and hence named after him. Witwatersrand is a hill in Gauteng in South Africa, which has deposits of Platinum along with other Platinum family metals.

Russia

Russia is the world’s second largest producer of Platinum. In 1935 the ‘Noril’sk’ (located in Siberia) mine began production. Both Platinum and Palladium were actually by products of the sites main product which was copper.

The Ural Mountains were one of Russia’s main producing regions dating back to 1823. They have since been stripped of the majority of their highest quality ore and account for only 1 per cent of Russia’s platinum production today.

Canada:

Where is platinum found ? In Canada there are 2 regions in the province of Ontario that produce Platinum and PGM’s. The first is Sudbury, located in northern Ontario. The Sudbury Basin is situated in an area of 62 km long, 32 km wide and 15 Km deep. Originally a copper mine in the later 1800′s, commercial production of PGM’s began around 1908.

The second region is the Lac Des Iles mine, currently owned by North American Palladium Ltd. The Lac De Illes mine is located close to Thunder Bay in North Western Ontario. The first production of Platinum Group Metals began in 1993 in an open pit mine referred to as the ‘Roby Zone’. A more valuable grade deposit was later discovered deeper in the ground so in 2005 an underground section was undertaken. Ore concentrations with highly laden amounts of Palladium and Platinum are the main product of this site.

USA

Where is Platinum Found : Nye, Montana is the primary source of PGM’s in the USA. Platinum and other pgm’s are found in the ‘J-M reef’ located in the Boulder mines. Latest reports state that 3/4 of the pgm’s extracted from this site are in fact Palladium with the remainder being mainly Platinum. The Stillwater Mining Company (SMC) started mining there in 1987.

Zimbabwe

Where is platinum found ? Considered to be one of the up and coming areas for Platinum production, Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke is considered to be a potentially large source for PGM’s.

It is an area that runs through central Zimbabwe approximately 550 kilometers in length and is approximately 5 meters thick. The actual width of the platinum containing ore is about 1 meter. It is said that the PGM content is around the 4 gram per tonne range with 55% being Platinum. In the future the hope of improved political climates, mining technologies and economic necessity will make Zimbabwe an important player in Platinum production.

Production Of Platinum Worldwide

Country 2005  2006
South Africa 169,000 172,000
Russia  30,000 32,000
Canada 6,400 6,700
United States 3,900 4,000
Colombia 1,080 1,000
Other Countries 7,000 7,600

Where Else Is Platinum Found?

The rarity of occurrence and its shining qualities have made Platinum one of the most sought after in the world. The ever increasing cost of mining and refining platinum has lead to an increase in the recycling of platinum. The following is a brief list of items where platinum is found currently sought after for platinum recycling:

  • catalytic converters
  • jewelry
  • coins
  • computer hard drives / electronic components
  • dental alloys
  • medical and scientific equipment
  • oxygen sensor

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