There are many metals and minerals that we can find on our beloved planet Earth and although many times when we talk about the most expensive ones we usually think of gold, for example, the truth is that there are some minerals that, due to their characteristics or the difficulties in extracting or finding them can fetch sky-high prices. These are then the most expensive minerals in the world. The most expensive minerals in the world are those that are usually classified as “precious metals” since due to their ductile and shiny nature they usually stand out physically but also have properties that make them useful for use in various fields and not just jewelry. Let’s discover five of those precious metals that are in fact currently the most expensive minerals in the world.
Currently, californium happens to be the most expensive mineral or metal in the world. One gram of this metal is estimated at around 9.5 million euros. This cosmic price is due to the complexity of its manufacturing process. A small amount of this metal can produce three times the energy of an ordinary nuclear reactor.
A gram of 99.9% pure scandium costs €126. Actually it is one of the elements predicted by Mendeleev (who formulated the periodic law), between calcium and titanium. It will be identified 10 years later in a metal by the Swedish chemist Lars Nilsson. A very light, soft, greyish-white metal, scandium is relatively widespread in different minerals, but in small quantities. It is mainly mined in China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. It has a strong recrystallization power: embedded in an aluminum alloy, it reinforces the strength and durability of the material by 50%. Originally, the Soviets used scandium in missile fins, which could then withstand considerable forces. Today, it is mainly used in the manufacture of bicycle frames, golf clubs or baseball bats. But its applications are also found in the aerospace industry or in oil refining as a cracking product. Scandium iodide is also used in the manufacture of high-power electric lamps.
One gram of plutonium costs around €2,902. This radioactive metal is mainly exploited in nuclear power plants. It is also used in the field of military weapons for the production of weapons of mass destruction. Its handling must be ensured by specialized engineers due to the strong radiation it emits.
Rhodium is the chemical element with the symbol Rh and symbol 45 and was once considered the most expensive mineral in the world. It is a rare, silvery-white, hard, corrosion-resistant, and chemically inert transition metal. It is a noble metal and a member of the platinum group. It has only one natural isotope, ¹⁰³Rh. Rhodium comes from the platinum group metal family, it is 100 times rarer than gold. In 2008, rhodium hit the all-time high of $321,000 per kilo, earning it the award for the most expensive precious metal ever known. Immediately after, its price plummeted and even reached $25,000 per kilo. The price of rhodium today is between 70,000 and 77,000 dollars per kilo, just below that of gold. Naturally occurring rhodium is commonly found in minerals such as bowieite and rhoplumite as the free metal, alloyed with similar metals, and rarely as a chemical compound.
Platinum is the chemical element with symbol Pt and symbol 78. It is a ductile, dense, malleable, very unreactive, precious, silvery-white transition metal. Beautiful, strong, malleable, ductile, stainless, and dense, platinum exhibits qualities superior to gold. Also, it’s weird. It is used in jewelry, laboratory equipment, medicine, for certain electrical contacts, and especially in vehicle catalytic converters. Platinum is one of the eight essential strategic raw materials. Since demand is constantly increasing, platinum is a great investment.