Palladium Bullion Guide

Palladium is a hard, silver-white metal and a member of the platinum group of metals. It is a chemical element with the symbol Pd and atomic number 46 in the periodic table. Palladium is usually found alloyed with other metals of the platinum group in platinum ores.

Like platinum, palladium has excellent catalytics properties and are often used as catalyst, such as in catalytic converters on automobiles, organic chemistry, and other coupling reactions. Palladium also has a special affinity for hydrogen and is capable of absorbing up to 900 times its own volume of the gas. This affinity for hydrogen led it to play an essential role in the 1989 Fleischmann-Pons cold fusion experiment.

History of Palladium

A British chemist name W. H. Wollaston, discovered palladium in 1803 when he successfully devised a method to separate palladium from crude platinum ore. He named the new metal after the asteroid "Pallas" which was discovered at around the same time. The name "Pallas", refers to the Greek goddess of wisdom.

Like the other platinum group metals, palladium's importance has only increased considerably in the last few decades as a result of rapid technological advancements, which led to new uses for the metal in a variety of industrial applications.

Palladium Production

Palladium is found as a free metal alloyed with gold and other platinum group metals in platinum ore and large quantities of palladium is produced as by-products of platinum and gold mining. The proportions of platinum to palladium in these ores can differ significantly, depending on the location of the deposits. The ore in the Stillwater Complex contains a platinum to palladium ratio of 1:3. The South African platinum ores is considerably richer in platinum, having a ratio of platinum to palladium or approximately 2:1.

Nickel-copper deposits also contain traces of palladium. Although the proportion of palladium in these ores is very low, the enormous volume of nickel-copper ore processed allows for profitable extraction.