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Platinum-Group Metals
Statistical Compendium


This publication includes data through 1990.
For recent statistics, please go the the Platinum-Group Metals Statistics and Information page.

The platinum-group metals (PGM) comprise six closely related metals: platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium, which commonly occur together in nature and are among the scarcest of the metallic elements. Along with gold and silver, they are known as precious or noble metals. They occur as native alloys in placer deposits or, more commonly, in lode deposits associated with nickel and copper. Nearly all of the world's supply of these metals are extracted from lode deposits in four countries--the Republic of South Africa, the U.S.S.R., Canada, and the United States. The Republic of South Africa is the only country that produces all six PGM in substantial quantities.

PGM have become critical to industry because of their extraordinary physical and chemical properties--the most important of which is their catalytic activity. Since the mid- 1970's and continuing today, automobile manufacturers have used catalytic converters containing platinum, palladium, and rhodium to reduce automobile emissions. Similarly, the chemical and petroleum-refining industries have relied on PGM catalysts to produce a wide variety of chemicals and petroleum products.


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