Important for Aircraft Engines and Medical Instruments: Iridium

iridium as physical asset

The price development of iridium, in per cent.

Market Situation

The annual output amounts to around 10 tons and comes mainly from mines in South Africa. By 2040, demand for iridium could rise to as much as 34 tons, predicts the German raw materials agency DERA.

However, due to the complex extraction process, the agency does not believe that a significant increase in production is possible. The precious metal is thus threatening to become scarcer and significantly more expensive.

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properties of iridium

Iridium is one of the rarest metals in the world. The super-hard and silvery-glossy precious metal occurs in such small quantities that it does not form deposits. This precious metal is obtained as a by-product in platinum mining, which in turn is tied to the mining of copper, iron, nickel, tin and lead.

applications of iridium

Due to its heat resistance, iridium is used in spark plugs. In medical technology, it is needed for surgical instruments such as stents. More than 20 percent of global consumption is accounted for by the chlor-alkali process for the production of chlorine, which in turn is needed for the production of PVC materials.

The precious metal is also used in numerous future technologies such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). It is also indispensable for the production of PEM electrolyzers, which are used to produce “green hydrogen. Together with platinum, it is used to coat the catalysts required for this purpose.