(October 24, 2012) - The storied 'science' of alchemy was once all the rage because it was about finding a way to convert lead into gold, but a modern day chemist is now pursuing ways to limit uses of platinum by chemically emulating its properties in order to save the world huge sums of money. Not yet 40 years old, Princeton University's Dr. Paul Chirik is working to find a way to help manufacturers avoid having to pay high platinum prices for the small amounts of the element they need in order to produce a wide range of goods. According to a recent article by Hillary Rosner of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Chirik believes that scientists should find a way to preserve Earth's supplies of precious metals by properly emulating their traits that industrial uses require.
July 5, 2012 - Africa is one of the richest sources of platinum in the world today; changes in how the metal is mined on that continent have caught the eye of financial media observers. Those who invest in precious metals pay close attention to mining companies in Africa because political and environmental shifts can signal impending fluctuations in platinum prices down the road. Earlier this year, mining in Rustenberg, South Africa took a 6 week hiatus due to a situation involving the Impala Platinum Company. They lost the chance to produce 3 and 3/4 tons of the metal that would have otherwise ended up being traded on the precious metals market. Since this is already the world's rarest commonly invested precious metal, even a seemingly small change in production can affect prices at the global level.
Due to its many industrial uses, as well as its rarity, investors often select platinum to hold in their portfolios. In the last week of June 2012 alone, the Aquarius Platinum company announced it will cease mining not only in its Marikina mine, but also the mine it has at Everest. Analyst David Jollie, speaking on behalf of Mitsui & Co. Precious Metals, told the press that the rising costs of mining the metal in South Africa means that many companies here are struggling because the first generation mines they are working with are difficult to justify the continued mining of.
The Platinum Koala of Australia is a platinum bullion coin minted by the Perth Mint up until 2000 when it was replaced by the Platinum Platypus as the nation's standard issue coin. It is a legal form of tender in the country and one of the more well known of the platinum coins the nation has produced to date. It was not until 1987 that the Australian government authorized the production of coins in both platinum and silver, but within 2 years, the Platinum Koala had become a hot commodity among collectors of precious metals, being traded all around the world. It sold very well and two years after being introduced, its sizes grew to include 2 oz, 10 oz and 1 kg. At that time, the 1 kg Platinum Koala coins were the heaviest of all bullion coins produced around the world.
Very small runs of the Koala platinum bullion coins were produced each year in Australia and typically there were not more than 3,500 coins in all. For collectors of precious metals, diversifying is very important to help their portfolio hold its value if the market changes and this is why Platinum Koala coins are such a smart idea for so many collectors.
The amount of platinum being used to create the latest fashion jewelry might lead you to believe that this has to be one of the major uses for this precious metal. Everywhere you look, jewelry makers are touting the beauty and durability of platinum and rightly so. The strength of this metal makes is the ideal setting for many precious gemstones. However, the medical world has been taking a keen interest in platinum for a variety of reasons. It has been found that platinum when mixed into very specific chemical forms has the ability to slow down or stop the division of living cells within the human body. This was discovered in 1962 and led to the development of a number or drugs designed to fight cancer. The very first of these called Cisplatin was released for use in 1977.