Platinum Mines

Platinum is by far one of the most sought after of the precious metals and because of its rarity, it has been able to maintain a very high value over time. Thousands of years ago, most civilizations focused solely on gold and silver for coinage and currency, not realizing just how valuable platinum could be. It wasn’t until more recent years that people started taking advantage of the physical and chemical properties of platinum to manufacture products while also using it to make beautiful jewelry. They call platinum “rich man’s gold” because it is just as beautiful as gold, but much more expensive.

The process of mining platinum is actually very interesting, because platinum is a far different metal than gold or silver. Platinum doesn’t rest on its own under the surface of the earth in the way that other precious metals do and as a result the techniques needed to extract and refine it are much more complex. As a whole, platinum is far more plentiful in the Earth’s crust then gold, but the issue lies in the fact that platinum is much more widely dispersed. Whereas most gold may be bonded to other metals, but is usually found in large quantities, platinum is usually found in very small quantities and is bonded to other metals.

Platinum mines are located all over the world, however a large majority of them are in North America, South America, South Africa, and Russia. In North America, many of the platinum mines are spread across the United States and Canada, although Mexico has their fair share too. South Africa actually has some of the largest platinum reserves in the world and currently accounts for approximately 60% of the world’s platinum.

Most platinum mines use a variety of techniques when extracting platinum because of the way that it is bonded to other materials and metals. Platinum is much heavier than gold, which helps when trying to separate it from gold, however many times platinum is bonded to more than one material. This calls for an extensive refining process that involves a series of several acidic baths or melting sessions. Eventually, when platinum is extracted from the platinum mines, it ends up in the hands of platinum dealers that choose to sell it for jewelry or other manufacturing processes.

Most people just assume that mining for precious metals is as simple as taking a pickaxe and banging away inside a cave. However, this simply is not the case anymore as miners have ton continuously go deeper and deeper within the crust of the Earth to find more metal reserves. Although extraction was much easier 50-100 years ago, technology has developed to a point where it can still be continued at a reasonable rate. Platinum continues to hold a very high value because it is one of the rarest metals in the world, and as the reserves begin to become depleted, I am betting that platinum will only continue to rise in value. It is also a very beautiful metal and although it isn’t cheap, it makes fantastic jewelry.


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