Every year, fleets of sturdy mine rail cars steadily move throughout mines around the world to collect some of the most precious metals known to man. Humans have explored the Earth’s mineral deposits for thousands of years, and we have placed enough value in them to build entire economies and civilizations around their trade and use. As Worthly.com writer Tiffany Raiford noted:
A great deal of the world bases the value of their jewels on the presence of diamonds or rare gems, but the metals in which your jewels are set are also valuable. It’s no big secret that many people have metal collections in the form of precious coins or other items, and it’s because the metal is valuable.
Here are some of the most valuable metals in today’s market.
Gold – Speaking to Andrea Sella, a chemistry professor at the University College London, a BBC correspondent determined the main reason why gold is so valued: it is one of only eight elements (along with platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, ruthenium, and silver) that barely react with all of the other elements. Also, as opposed to silver, gold doesn’t tarnish, which is another important criterion for a metal to be considered for use as valuable currency.
Rhodium – Gold and silver are both pretty rare, but rhodium is considerably scarcer than even gold and silver combined. Commonly used for its reflective properties in objects such as search lights and mirrors, rhodium is extremely rare and is found in only a handful of places—South Africa and Russia, among others. It is also used to create catalytic converters in car engines.
Platinum – Platinum is renowned for its malleability (the ability to bend without breaking) and non-corrosive properties. The jewellery industry has favoured using platinum through the years because of the metal’s aesthetic value as well as its resistance. At times, platinum has been considered even more valuable than gold in terms of pricing and utility as it can be used in crucial applications such as scientific experiments and anti-cancer drugs.
Ruthenium – Known for its durability and exceptional ability to withstand outside elements, ruthenium is also used as an alloy additive to platinum and palladium to increase the hardness of jewellery. In addition, it is fairly popular in electronics as it is used to plate electric contacts.
Gold and silver are only two of a number of metals that are classified as precious. As long as these and other precious metals continue to power economies and industries worldwide, durable mine ore cars built by companies such as Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. will continue to be used to transport them in underground operations around the world.
(Source: The World’s Most Valuable Precious Metals, Worthly.com, July 9, 2014)