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[*] posted on 8-2-2022 at 01:43
Is there an interest of rare metals?


I have a bit of a business idea, I have found om Russian and Chinese sites that sell rare metals quite cheaply in large quantities. But on eBay, they are sold for around $10 per gram. So if I import type 100 g-pieces and divide them and repack it nicely and then sell expensive?

Or is there too little interest in it? After all, it is only those who collect periodic systems who buy them!? Which target groups may be more interested?

I'm not so in to hadling with only the noble-metal, thay are to expensive and the price is about the same over the world. But I'm thinking for example the rare earth metals, indium, niobium, molybdenium, bismuth, gallium, chromium, vanadium, alkaline earth metals and maby the alkali metals , if that's legal to handle with, they are almost explosive...




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[*] posted on 8-2-2022 at 06:05


You have to be really careful not to be scammed on these "cheap" Chinese offers though.
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[*] posted on 8-2-2022 at 07:13


I have an interest in indium, bismuth, gallium, alkaline/alkali, rare earth. I have some planned experiments and also I would consider some of those metals as a way to keep money in such a form that could be an alternative to noble metals. I would add Hg to that list because it is also a nice and very useful metal.
The problem is that the market for those metals is really unclear for me.
1-10g, even 100g quantities are really expensive (per gram). I have no idea which sources do you mean for large quantities and what quantities you consider as large and which price is a real market price for those quantities. The quality/purity is a big issue also. So, if you plan to make some business those are my questions:
1. Which prices can I use as a reference for the price of 1g/10g/100g/1kg/10kg of the metal of known purity. So, I'd like to be sure that when I buy 10g I buy it at a market price, which means should be no big difference when I buy that quantity from different sources if the purity is marked properly.
2. When I can trust the purity declared by the seller?
3. Is it the case that the price difference is only because of quantity and purity (probably custom tax also) but not because of the seller.

If I will have a clear answer to those 3 questions I will be ready to invest money in those metals.
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[*] posted on 9-2-2022 at 02:24


If you want to keep your money valuable (protect it against inflation), then I only see gold as a viable option. The price of other metals is way too volatile. Even silver is not really safe. E.g. around 2012 or so, one kg of silver was appr. $1400 spot price. In 2017 the spot price was around $400 and now it is around $700.

I myself invested in gold and silver, but the silver is more speculative. Buying the physical metal adds additional cost. High purity metal is more expensive than the spot price. I purchased some gold and silver, which are kept in a safe. This adds some cost to holding the metal. Options are renting a safe, or buying a safe yourself, but the latter option is quite expensive for more serious stored value.
I also purchased gold and silver in the form of ETF's. The advantage of these is that you can buy and sell them at any moment, in mere seconds, and you don't have to store the metal physically. This saves cost on safe storage, but ETF's have other costs (usually a certain small percentage of its value on a yearly basis).

I also purchased 3 kg of indium (4N5), 2 kg of tellurium (4N) and 250 grams of rhenium (3N5). The rhenium was a very good deal, at appr. EUR 2,20 per gram. The indium and tellurium were at appr. EUR 350/kg resp. EUR 150/kg. These are well above spot price (for indium that is appr. $250 at the moment, for tellurium that is appr. $80/kg at the moment), but spot prices are not that relevant. There is a big difference between having some raw ore, containing the material, and having it at 999 fine, or even 9999 fine purity.
I keep my indium and tellurium in my lab, the rhenium also is in the safe. The chance of a burglar taking away indium or tellurium is not that big I assume. I do not think that a burglar will be attracted to some jar, filled with some irregular crystalline stuff, labeled "tellurium 4N" ;)

I consider spending much more money on gold, as protection against inflation. Whether this will be physical, or in the form of ETF's (or both), I am not yet sure. I'm still thinking about all of this, but I should not wait too long, with inflation being as high as 7% on a yearly basis at the moment.

The cost of buying physical gold at 999 or even 9999 fineness becomes quite low, when you buy larger quantities. E.g. when you buy 100 grams of gold, then you only pay appr. 2% more than spot price. With selling physical gold, the same is true. Selling a decent quantity can be done only a little under spot price. So, if you keep the gold for several years and there is inflation of e.g. 5% on average over those years, then the cost of buying and selling it is acceptable. You should not buy physical gold, however, if you want to sell it within a year again.

[Edited on 9-2-22 by woelen]




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[*] posted on 9-2-2022 at 02:38


Here in the States, people have started collecting different useful materials. My company goes through a lot of pvc plastic each year. 24 months ago, a section of pipe cost around $0.85 cent. Now it's $12.40. 18 months, we made the decision to stock as much as we could afford. Completely filled our warehouse. $40k. To purchase the same amount now would cost around 110k. As we use it, we adjust our fees to reflect the current market price.

This may seem off subject, but my point is that any non-perishable material that you have ready access to demand may be used to protect from inflation.




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[*] posted on 9-2-2022 at 06:57


Woelen, the very useful information, thanks.
The point is, if I need some metal I would like to buy it either in bulk, close to the spot price as much as possible, or in small quantity but still at some predictable price. I am looking at 2 different famous NL shops now and I see the price per 10g differs as much as 19 - 68EUR per 10G of Indium. 3.5x times looks not like volatility but more like selling the air in some cases. I'd like to have a way to calculate what the "normal" price per 10g / 100g etc of indium should be before making a decision whether to buy 1 kg or 10g. The same for other metals. And I have no idea how to calculate the reference price for any amount knowing the spot price. And the storage and price volatility is the other story. In the first place, it is having some price references.
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[*] posted on 9-2-2022 at 08:04


There are a surprising amount of metals for sale on ebay, in volumes high enough to get an idea of the market price. Indium seems to be around $0.40/g. There are also some good sellers on Amazon like Rotometals, Exotech, and MS Metalshipper.
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[*] posted on 10-2-2022 at 02:29


most metal prices can be found here - mineralprices.com
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[*] posted on 10-2-2022 at 02:34


Pricewise, only for gold and silver (and to a lesser extent platinum and palladium) there are standardized prices, which are roughly the same at different sellers. A gold bullion has a certain price per gram of metal, which goes closer to the spot price with increasing amount purchased, and the premium paid for having the metal in very pure form is a few percents of the value of the metal itself. The premium still depends on the seller, in practice that makes a difference between e.g. EUR 5200 and EUR 5400 per 100 grams of gold at both extremes of the price scale. Still interesting to look at the cheapest offer, but other things (like shipping costs, insurance, location from where it comes, lead times) also matter.

With indium, tellurium and other less common elements, there is MUCH more variation. When I was looking at my indium purchase, I only wanted to buy in Europe (I do not trust those cheap Chinese sellers, who say that they sell 4N5 purity metal at $250 per kg). But even in Europe, I found greatly differing prices (cheapest was appr. EUR 330 per kg, incl. taxes, most expensive was well over double that value). Price also drops when quantities are increased (e.g. 10 grams was EUR 10, 100 grams was EUR 60, 500 grams was EUR 190 and 1 kg was EUR 330). For 3N5 rhenium the difference was even bigger (cheapest was EUR 550 per 250 grams, most expensive was 3.5 times as expensive for the same amount).
It's also a matter of having luck. One day, you can find indium or rhenium at such a low price, one week later, the offer is gone. That's also a big difference with buying gold or silver. The latter metals can be purchased at many places (e.g. I purchased mine at the reputable seller 101munten.nl, which has quite competitive prices) at predictable prices, depending on published market prices.

The form in which materials are offered also has influence on the price. The indium I have came in the form of nice bars, nicely polished, in a vacuum plastic seal, with a stamp of the purity and a document enclosed, which tells something about the purity and maximum values of impurities (e.g. 99.995% In, max. 0.001% Ag, max. 0.002% Ga, ....). The rhenium came as a medium fine powder (like table salt grains). The tellurium came as a jar of irregularly shaped crystalline pieces.

[Edited on 10-2-22 by woelen]




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[*] posted on 10-2-2022 at 13:07


All strategic metals are worth investing in if you think the demand is going to rise.

I too invested in Indium but got better luck than Woelen. I got it at 220 Euros and by the description we might have the same source (Germany?). In the following months it went up to 340 Euros and I was jumping up and down.
Now of course, I'm less happy since it's been steady arount 270 Euros.

One of the reasons its price fell is because there are alternatives. I got the Indium to err... calm myself when looking at the zombies around me in transports with their eyes glued to their mobiles.
Thinking they were helping me get rich was soothing.

I had a good opportunity at Rhenium and Ruthenium and let it pass... Those I expect will still be in high demand for many many years. Everyone seems to be building jet fighters which need specialty alloys these days...

I'm more curious about the choice for Tellurium though. True, it is used is some photovoltaic cells so the demand is probably going to rise but at the same time it is a by-product (mostly I believe) from copper refining.
Copper being in very high demand with the "green" revolution and all I expect supply for this element to rise and the price remain steady.
In addition, there are already plans to recycle those cells that also contain Cadmium.
I got some from Onyxmet and more from eBay / China. Prices were really affordable.

Gold and silver are of course the best investment: contrary to the others you can sell them anywhere and are less volatile. I totally agree though that you should not buy these if you plan to sell them within the year.
Those are investment metals. Just like real estate you cant expect to make an instant profit.
In addition, you should ***really*** check your local laws on selling these metals as in some countries you might have to pay taxes depending on the form it is in !!!
One minute you thought you just made 20%, the second later you realize you just made 5%. Not cool.
I have quite a bit of silver cement that needs to be turned into shot before being fed into an electrolytic cell. I didnt do this for the money originally but I got the silver at such a good price that even by selling it right now I would make a profit even counting all the hardware I had to buy for this project and chemicals.
I guess the rise in price will have paid my hobby when I start selling the final product.

PGM in general are interesting.
First of all, cars will still run on gasoline for a very long time and we will still need catalytic converters. Some metals just cannot be mined. There are no deposits and they are mostly by-products from other extraction. Think Rhodium.
If memory serves, you find Rhodium mostly with Platinum and around 60% of the Rhodium that is used today is recycled.
That number is huge and just reflects on how much we need this element.

Anything with a catalytic activity that cant be easily replaced should be investigated for its current and future applications.
One could think that with the electric car hype those metals would become a thing of the past but... you find the same needs in fuel cells !

It was interesting reading this topic and your thoughts. I was not surprised to find this kind of thinking from people on this forum ;)

Edit for French speakers:
https://www.mineralinfo.fr/fr/securite-des-approvisionnement...

The PDF files on the different elements are the best summaries I found out there. Uses, recycling, alternatives, charts,, histograms pies absolutely every possible data you can find out there on the elements.
Nothing you wouldnt put together and figure out by yourself in 3-6 hours of work per element on the Internet.
The pdf's are ugly. But the data is priceless.

[Edited on 10-2-2022 by Herr Haber]

[Edited on 10-2-2022 by Herr Haber]




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[*] posted on 10-2-2022 at 21:57


Quote: Originally posted by woelen  
If you want to keep your money valuable (protect it against inflation), then I only see gold as a viable option. The price of other metals is way too volatile. Even silver is not really safe. E.g. around 2012 or so, one kg of silver was appr. $1400 spot price. In 2017 the spot price was around $400 and now it is around $700.


I know some may think this sounds crazy, and obviously people don't invest in it like gold and silver, but one metal that has been consistently going up, and I see it continuing this trend for the foreseeable future id copper. Even with PVC feed water pipes becoming more common, what metal is better for electronics and electricity with the cost of copper.

Sure other metals like silver conduct better, but tarnish and is not cheap, gold doesn't tarnish but is not viable for carrying large amounts of electricity as it is even more expensive. Aluminum is cheap, but they moved to copper wires from aluminum for a reason.

Refrigeration tubing is all thick walled high pressure copper, welding electrodes, cups, cones, nozzles, circuit boards.

I typed all this then thought, maybe I should see if somebody mentioned it already, I see Mr. Haber beat me to it, but I don't feel like letting my time go to waste lol.
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[*] posted on 11-2-2022 at 03:09


Quote: Originally posted by woelen  
Pricewise, only for gold and silver (and to a lesser extent platinum and palladium) there are standardized prices, which are roughly the same at different sellers. A gold bullion has a certain price per gram of metal, which goes closer to the spot price with increasing amount purchased, and the premium paid for having the metal in very pure form is a few percents of the value of the metal itself.

Not completely.
The gold price has inflated 50 times in the past 50 years, from a steady $35 to $1750 per ounce (31.1g). Barely any other metal has skyrocketed that much in price. That is all about speculation. 40% of all gold mined is used for 'investing'. A considerable amount of the gold mined in all times is buried again in central bank vaults, which is actually a waste of resources. Gold mining is very polluting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold#/media/File:Gold_price_in...
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[*] posted on 11-2-2022 at 04:28


I think the way to protect the money from inflation with rare metals is to invest in different metals. If some of them will fall in price others will rise. But it looks like more important is to find a good deal.
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[*] posted on 11-2-2022 at 15:47


Quote: Originally posted by teodor  
I think the way to protect the money from inflation with rare metals is to invest in different metals. If some of them will fall in price others will rise. But it looks like more important is to find a good deal.


All absolutely true. The saying "dont put all your eggs in the same basket" applies here also.
And yes, the most difficult part is to find a good deal.

But back on topic, things like Osmium, Rhenium, Ruthenium seem particularly interesting to me because of their demand in the forseable future.
I wish I had made a stockpile of Iridum and Rhodium...

If anyone is selling, I miss the last two ones in my element collection !




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[*] posted on 15-2-2022 at 00:44


The trouble with osmium, rhenium, ruthenium and other exotic metals is that selling them may be hard. I invested some money in indium, rhenium and tellurium, but it only is a relatively small amount, and that is for the reason of possible difficulty of selling it. Gold and silver can easily be sold at fairly 'standard' prices (with 'standard' I mean: based on spot price, minus some margin for the company, which buys it) at many different places, both online and in physical stores. Finding a buyer for e.g. rhenium may be more difficult.

I indeed have my indium from a German seller (Terrra Resources Invest, through eBay), at EUR 330 per kg, not per pound. I have 3 kg in total, so I spent appr. EUR 1000 on that. Maybe this is the same as yours. They sell 4N5 indium in nice bars, with a certificate of analysis. At the moment, the indium price is EUR 450 - 500 per kg (on eBay from EU-sellers).

I purchased the tellurium as a gamble. It is very rare (comparable to gold), but indeed, demand is not that high and it is a side-product of production of other materials. But there might come a technological development, which suddenly makes the price jump up. In the past this was true for rhodium. I wish I had purchased rhodium back in 1999 at the starting days of eBay and other internet auction sites. But I only purchased 2 kg of tellurium, for EUR 350 or so in total, so if it cannot be sold anymore, then I have no real big loss.

I also invested in copper and nickel, but not in physical form (too bulky for local storage of a decent value). I purchased ETF's at "De Giro", a trading platform for stocks, ETF and other financial products.




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[*] posted on 16-2-2022 at 15:16


I note that silver nitrate costs at least $2 or more a gram these days. The spot price for silver is under $25 an ounce, or less than a dollar a gram. Silver nitrate is around 2/3 silver. Half an ounce of 70% nitric acid will react with an ounce of silver. Nitric acid is cheap (at least when purchased in bulk). $25 worth of silver, and a dollar or less worth of nitric acid, will produce over $60 worth of silver nitrate. There is definitely the potential for some enterprising amateur chemist to make some money on eBay selling silver nitrate right now.
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[*] posted on 24-2-2022 at 18:15


Is there a practical way to convert old or dirty Pd on carbon into a marketable metal? I have some old bottles of it which contain a good bit of Pd, but quite diluted. I have some other small amounts of metals and metal salts, but not sure of the best way to sell them, some are a pain to ship, some are tiny amounts. How much of an element do people want to "collect" it? Would a small bit in a vial or ampule be useful?
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[*] posted on 24-2-2022 at 19:29


Back in my employed days, we used to collect all the spent Pd-C (we used a lot of it - at one time we had a 25 kg barrel of 5% Pd-C in the stock room) and send it back to the supplier. It is my recollection that they burned off the carbon and other residual organics then refined the recovered palladium for resale. Perhaps just "torching" some of your dirty Pd-C would provide Pd buttons.

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[*] posted on 1-5-2022 at 20:21


Quote: Originally posted by mackolol  
You have to be really careful not to be scammed on these "cheap" Chinese offers though.


Just a note of personal experience, I get indium (III) oxide from Wuhan Xinrong New Materials Co (my contact is Flora Tu) and have had nothing but good experience with them and their indium (III) oxide. Their business is in both oxides and metallic indium, gallium, germanium, tellurium, bismuth, and selenium. So I wanted to report my experience.

There are scams. I've gotten bogus yttrium oxide off ali express before, reportedly made by Henan Zhongjie Chemical Products to name names.

But Wuhan Xinrong New Materials has been an honest vendor for me. If I was going to buy indium metal in any quantity I would feel totally comfortable buying from them.

As for missed opportunities, how does buying palladium when it was $200 an ounce sound. Yes, that was me.
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