Platinum is a precious metal that is mainly used for jewelry, electronics, dentistry equipment and automobiles. It was first used by Ecuador’s indigenous citizens to create Platinum-gold alloys, but the element was also discovered in Egyptian gold, dating all the way back to 1200 BCE.
The isolation of Platinum metal was not practiced until the late 18th century. Before that, the commodity was often thrown away as it was considered an impurity in gold. However, it was discovered that Platinum was in fact resistant to corrosion and stable at high temperatures, leading it to be labeled a rare and precious metal.
Fun fact: even Louis XV of France recognized its worth by classifying it the only metal fit for a king.
Today, over 80% of the world’s Platinum group metal reserves are in South Africa, and it is mainly in demand for refining and manufacturing valuable instruments.
Supply and demand can have a big influence on Platinum value. Political instability in countries like South Africa can easily affect mining volume. There have been multiple occasions of mining strikes and insufficient government investment in infrastructure that resulted in restricting the mining process.
This metal is also heavily used by the automotive industry in creating catalytic converters. As more traditional cars (that use catalytic converters) that are sold, the demand for Platinum increases. On the other hand, the increasing number of electric cars has simultaneously reduced the demand for this commodity.
Platinum is also slowly being replaced by other elements such as Palladium in certain technological developments. The metal is gradually being used less in the pharmaceutical industries as new medicines emerge.
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