Raw Material Rhodium – Hard to Obtain, Hard to Replace

rhodium as physical asset

The price development of rhodium, in per cent.

Market Situation

There are no mines of our own for rhodium. Of the 25 tons of rhodium mined worldwide each year, 98 percent comes from South Africa, Russia and Canada. About 10 tons per year are currently returned to the market through recycling.

Unlike some other precious metals, the world market for rhodium is limited, and the price is therefore very volatile. The price increase over the past four years has peaked at over 1,000 percent. Demand for 2022 will increase to around 35 tons.

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properties of rhodium

Rhodium is one of the noblest and rarest platinum group metals in the world. It can be extracted almost exclusively as a by-product of the mining of platinum and palladium, sometimes also during the extraction of nickel or copper. The extraction process is very complex. Rhodium has a high reflectivity, hardly reacts with acids, but has a high catalytic activity.

applications of rhodium

The most important application for Rhodium is one of the key elements for car catalytic converters. The reason: rhodium can break down nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water. Over 31 metric tons will be used for this purpose in exhaust filters in 2022. This means that the global automotive industry is already consuming more rhodium than is primarily mined. Based on new emission standards in China, India and Europe, this demand could increase even further.

The chemical industry accounts for a further eight percent of total consumption, while glass producers process around four percent of the available rhodium. Small quantities of the precious metal are also used in the electronics industry and in jewelry production.