Properties of Iridium
Iridium is one of the rarest metals in the world. The super-hard and silvery shining precious metal occurs in such small quantities that it does not form deposits. This precious metal is extracted as a by-product in platinum mining, which in turn is linked to the mining of copper, iron, nickel, tin and lead.
Areas of Application for iridium
Due to its heat resistance, iridium is used in spark plugs. In medical technology, it is needed for surgical instruments such as stents. More than 20 percent of global consumption is accounted for by the chlor-alkali process for the production of chlorine, which in turn is needed for the production of PVC materials.
The precious metal is also used in numerous future technologies such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). It is also considered irreplaceable for the production of PEM electrolysers, which are used to produce “green hydrogen”. Together with platinum, it is used to coat the catalysts required for this.
Iridium: The precious metal of superlatives with rarity value has many areas of application, such as power-to-gas.
Material Asset Iridium
The annual output amounts to about 10 tonnes and comes mainly from mines in South Africa. By 2040, the demand for iridium could rise to up to 34 tonnes, predicts the German Raw Materials Agency DERA.
However, due to the complex extraction process, a significant increase in production is not possible from the agency’s point of view. The precious metal is thus threatening to become scarcer and significantly more expensive.