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Posted: 3/22/2006 11:26:03 PM EDT
This metal is almost $4000.00 an ounce right now! What makes it so special, and why is it so expensive right now? It has gone up $500/oz in the past month, and 2 years ago it was at about $400.

Gold used to be at $400 for quite a while. Can you imagine if it jumped to 4 grand an oz? I don't expect it to, just wondering what makes rhodium worth 4K an oz. I think I'd be selling right now if I had some.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 11:32:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/22/2006 11:35:35 PM EDT by OBird]
IIRC, it's an extremely rare powdery substance that some industries need to do some sort of (actually rather important) chemical process.

ETA: Here's the link to Wikipedia's scoop on Rhodium: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodium

Here's an excerpt that goes into greater detail about that "chemical process" I mentioned:

Applications
The primary use of this element is as an alloying agent for hardening platinum and palladium. These alloys are used in furnace windings, bushings for glass fiber production, thermocouple elements, electrodes for aircraft spark plugs, and laboratory crucibles. Other uses include:

It is used as an electrical contact material due to its low electrical resistance, low and stable contact resistance, and its high corrosion resistance.
Plated rhodium, made by electroplating or evaporation, is extremely hard and is used for optical instruments.
This metal finds use in jewelry and for decorations. Often it is used to give white gold extra shine.
It is also a highly useful catalyst in a number of industrial processes (notably it is used in the catalytic system of automobile catalytic converters and for catalytic carbonylation of methanol to produce acetic acid by the Monsanto process). It is used to catalyse addition of hydrosilanes to a double bond, a process important in manufacture of certain silicone rubbers.
The complex of a rhodium ion with BINAP gives a widely used chiral catalyst for chiral synthesis, as in the synthesis of menthol
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 11:36:05 PM EDT
Either supply went down, or demand went up.

That's my way of saying "I don't know" and "tag for info".
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 11:39:03 PM EDT
Shit, that is nothing. In the early 90's it was over $7k/oz.

Rhodium is the most reflective metal in the world.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 11:44:17 PM EDT
Description and Uses:

Rhodium is a silver-white metallic element, is highly resistant to corrosion, and is extremely reflective. It is used as a finish for jewelry, mirrors, and search lights. It is also used in electric connections and is alloyed with platinum for aircraft turbine engines. Another use is manufacturing of nitric acid and used in hydrogenation of organic compounds. Rhodium usage is dominated by autocatalyst applications where it is used together with platinum and palladium to control exhaust emissions


Major sources of supply

South Africa is the major source, accounting for almost 60% of the world's rhodium supply Russia is the second largest producer, although its sales are, as with the other PGMs, volatile and subject to political intervention.


Historical prices

High rhodium prices during the late 1980s led to increased rhodium production from South Africa. This increased supply was primarily responsible for a declining rhodium price during the 1990s.Interruptions to Russian supply since early 1997 have helped the rhodium price to recover strongly. Kitco provides historical price charts updating on a daily basis.


www.kitco.com/charts/rhodium.html
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:09:58 AM EDT
My parents gave me a rhodium plated Tissot pocketwatch when I graduated from high school. One of my most valuable possessions in many senses.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:14:29 AM EDT
So, should I sit on this Rhodium mine or sell out?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 3:37:30 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:02:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FieroLoki:
So, should I sit on this Rhodium mine or sell out?


In your dreams.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 4:12:20 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 6:06:56 PM EDT
South Africa is the major source, accounting for almost 60% of the world's rhodium supply

That tells you what you need to know... uncertain supply. The market sees what happened to Rhodesia, excuse me, Zimbabwe, and see South Africa following the same Marxist path.
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