#1 Rhodium

Type of Metal:

Rhodium is finite and the rarest of precious metals and as such, has earned a reputation as “The Fifth Element”. Rhodium is a key component in the car industry, but some of rhodium’s other principal uses are in glass making; as a finish for mirrors; in electrical connections; and in aircraft turbine engines.

The major use of rhodium is as a hardener for platinum and palladium, to produce alloys used for electrodes, furnace windings, crucibles, and thermocouple elements. It is used as an electrical contact material as it has a low resistance and is highly resistant to corrosion. Plated rhodium is exceptionally hard and is used for optical instruments. It is also used as a catalyst.

Where It Comes From:

Rhodium occurs native with other platinum metals in river sands in North and South America, and in the copper-nickel sulfide ores of Ontario. It is the rarest of all non-radioactive metals on Earth but the large amounts of nickel processed make the extraction of rhodium as a by-product commercially feasible.

The total amount of Rhodium produced in the world is about 33 tons, roughly the same weight as an adult Grey Whale. Compare this to the 1,714.29 tons of gold produced.

So How Much is It Worth?

Rhodium’s price performance has been very steady in recent years, however, we have seen a steady decline over the past two months. Analysts predict a 22% increase by the end of the year. Its average price in May of 2014 was around $1,150/oz.Though as of April 2014 the price is closer to $1,030/oz.

Did You Know?

The Guinness Book of World Records gave Paul McCartney a rhodium-plated disc for being history’s all-time best selling recording artist and songwriter in 1979.

Is It Recyclable?

Though Rhodium is a recyclable resource, there are minuscule amounts that exist in catalytic converters as well as some jewelry.

To find out what metals you can recycle at our Garner/Raleigh location, visit TT&E’s site for Scrap Metals We Buy >>