Gold and other precious metals – raw material extraction, compatibility and stock metals – in conversation with Dr. Peter Riedi of EM Global Service AG, Lichtenstein.
The term precious metals is probably familiar to everyone. They are considered to be mineral resources and occur naturally as elements in our earth. They are mined, processed and not infrequently traded at a high price. Whether beautiful shiny jewelry or the wiring in our household electronics, we cannot imagine our everyday life without precious metals. There are many different uses for these precious metals. But what exactly makes these metals precious and are they suitable as an investment? I asked Dr. Riedi from EM Global Service AG about this.
Special features of a chemical nature
First of all, it is necessary to take a closer look at the chemical characteristics of this type of metal. The group of precious metals forms its own group in the periodic table. The various metals are united by the fact that they do not corrode at all in a natural environment, or only very slowly and to a limited extent. The group of precious metals includes a total of nine metals. In addition to the best-known precious metals gold, silver and platinum, ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium and mercury also belong to this group. In addition to the classic precious metals, there are also semi-precious metals, which include copper, for example. In addition, all precious and semi-precious metals are also heavy metals and thus have a density of over 5.0 g/cm³.
The extraction of raw materials
As with many other raw materials, the mining of precious metals is usually not particularly environmentally friendly. Mining requires large amounts of water, which often leads to rivers drying up and people in the mining areas lacking water. In addition to the lack of water, the clearing of forest areas for mines is another aspect that contributes to the fact that the mining of precious metals is very harmful to the environment. It interferes with nature and the habitat of many animals. Likewise, the processing of the mined metals with chemicals is often not environmentally friendly. Dr. Peter Riedi comments: „The countries with the largest gold deposits include China and Australia. America and Africa also have large deposits of precious metals. Due to the high ecological and economic costs of procuring precious metals in combination with the growing population of the world, stock metals are in demand and their prices are constantly rising. Add to this the ideas of circular economy that characterize the trade in inventory metals.“
Rarity and byproduct in mining
Sorted by price per gram, the most expensive of all precious metals is osmium at €1,386.79 per gram (all prices as of March 01, 2021). Osmium is the rarest precious metal on earth. It is obtained as a byproduct in platinum mining. „There are only about 30 grams of osmium in 10,000 tons of platinum ore. This rare occurrence makes osmium so valuable. Osmium is not currently used in many areas, but it is seen as the jewelry metal of the future and will probably soon be used alongside gold, silver and platinum for fine jewelry,“ explains Dr. Peter Riedi, member of the board of EM Global Service AG. In second place on the precious metal price list is rhodium at 722.80 euros per gram. Dr. Peter Riedi comments, „Rhodium can be used, for example, in various catalysts for acid production or as a coating for high-quality mirrors.“ Following rhodium on the list is iridium at 127.32 euros per gram. „This precious metal has applications in numerous fields and is often used as an alloying element, providing hardness and brittleness. One area of application, for example, is precision measurements in medicine or mechanical engineering,“ explains Dr. Riedi.
In 4th place among the most expensive precious metals is currently palladium, with a price of 63.21 euros per gram. „This precious metal also has many areas of application. It is used in the jewelry industry and medical technology as well as in electrical components such as relays or even in fuel cells,“ says precious metals expert Dr. Peter Riedi. Although gold is the best known and also the most widely used precious metal, it currently occupies only 5th place. The price for 1 gram lies with gold up-to-date with 46,18 euro.
Crisis security speaks for the investment of precious metals
If you take a look at the high prices of precious metals, you quickly realize that these valuable elements are a way of investing money. Dr. Peter Riedi: „Since the investment in precious metals is considered very crisis-proof, it is very popular. Especially the investment in bars and coins is appreciated by many people. Although the prices of the metals fluctuate greatly, they will not lose their value. So as an inflation hedge, investing in precious metals makes sense, but if you want to make short-term gains, other forms of investment are much more suitable.“ The most popular precious metals to invest in are gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Osmium is currently considered to be the investment of the future, due to its small deposits, a high price can be recorded. Since 2014, when the first investment in osmium was made, the price on the world market has skyrocketed considerably, and it is expected that the price will continue to rise in the future. Investing in other precious metals such as rhodium is also an option, but is usually dependent on industries in which the precious metal is used. If a crisis-proof investment is sought, precious metals offer a wide range of possibilities.
Megatrends speak for commodities
EM Global Service AG focuses on gold, silver, platinum and palladium. All precious metals are acquired and held in physical custody. The precious metals are stored in a high security vault facility of a Swiss or Liechtenstein security company. Due to population growth and the growth of buyers with purchasing power in global terms as well as economic growth, there is a significant shortage. Due to sustainable management and high hurdles for procurement (ecological and economical) the values continue to increase.
Student & Blogger
About the author:
Student Amelie Hauger is currently completing a dual study program in Stuttgart. Since her childhood, her enthusiasm for technology grew, which is why the field of mechanical engineering production technology with a focus on mobility exactly reflects her interests. The alternation between theory and practice makes the dual study program interesting. Her special interest lies in future technologies, new materials, autonomous driving and driverless transport.
EM Global Service AG
FL- 9495 Triesen
Principality of Liechtenstein
Phone +423 230 31 21
Fax +423 230 31 22
Located in the heart of Europe, EM Global Service AG designs and manages commodity and precious metal concepts. The range of services of EM Global Service AG includes the acquisition, custody and security of physical precious metals for the owners, the buyers. The company with her team builds on economic stability and secure it with reliability and discretion in asset custody in the heart of Europe. For more information, visit www.em-global-service.li