Palladium is a metal and chemical element found in the earth's crust.
More than half of the mined palladium is used in the manufacturing of automotive catalytic converters. As the exhaust gases pass through the honeycomb shaped catalyst, up to 90% of the harmful gases are converted into non-toxic substances.
Of all of the Platinum Group metals, palladium has the lowest melting point and it is the softest and most malleable in the group.
Isolated ore deposits of palladium are rarely found. The largest ore deposits have been discovered in Montana as part of the Stillwater Igneous Complex.
Other notable palladium mining occurs in South Africa, Ontario Canada and the Norilsk Complex in Russia.
The recycling of used catalytic converters from disposed automobiles and large trucks has become a key source for refiners to acquire palladium without mining.
Palladium is also recognized for its value in other industries such as medicine and dentistry, jewelry and groundwater treatment. The metal is also used in the building of fuel cells which utilize a chemical reaction with oxygen and hydrogen to produce heat and electricity.
Palladium garners considerable interest from investors due to the many industrial and manufacturing uses and the very limited supply.
In 2021 the overall mine output for palladium was roughly 200,800 kilograms making it one of the rarest mined metals on earth.
South Africa unearthed more than 80 metrics tons of palladium, making it the largest producer of this lustery white metal.
Russia mined more than 74 tons of palladium followed by Canada and the United States producing 17 tons and 14 tons, respectively.
The majority of palladium is consumed by automotive manufacturers in the United States and China in the building of exhaust systems for car and truck engines.
The very first palladium coins were issued by Sierra Leone in 1966. In modern times, the Moscow Mint established the precedent for investors with the 1989 Russian Palladium Ballerina.
Today, the most popular palladium coins are minted annually by the Royal Canadian Mint and the US Mint.
The Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf coin was first minted from 2005 until 2007. In 2009, the RCM resumed the minting of this coin due to its popularity among investors. The Palladium Maple Leaf 1 oz coin has a legal tender face value of $50 CAD.
The US Mint debuted the American Palladium Eagle in 2017 as a bullion coin. In 2018, the mint followed with a Proof Palladium Eagle version of the coin.
Several notable and widely recognized private refineries and mints produce palladium bars and ingots specifically aimed at investors. The most popular palladium bars are those minted by Valcambi and PAMP Suisse, both headquartered in Switzerland.
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