Posts Tagged ‘precious metals’

A year and a quarter ago, “Tech Metals Insider” launched on Kitco News. What started with the innocent question: “what would happen to precious metals if we all drove electric cars” has become a roller coaster ride into the worlds of energy generation, nuclear fission, transmutation, electronics, and many more. As I was informed by Kitco, my series is enjoying steadily increasing popularity, which is why it was now moved from the “Contributed Commentaries” to the “News” section further up on the website.

As happy as I am with this development, there are a few downsides, too: apart from confusion to readers who will not find my articles where they used to be, news items in this section of the website rotate more quickly, meaning that my articles will not stay on the homepage for an entire week. They drop below the fold after about two days where they are harder to find. Here is how to get to my column:

Once an article is published, you will find it labeled “Featured” on the homepage:



Afterwards, my reports can be found either by clicking “more news” and scrolling down, or via this direct link which takes you to the archive of all articles I have written so far (it may take a second or two to scroll to my name). Sorry about the inconvenience. I think it will be all for the better in the long run – we’ll see.

Many thanks to all of you who took an interest in my series, and to those who wrote in response to my sometimes controversial topics. I will continue to respond to all reader mail unless it is anonymous or contains personal insults – happy to report that there were VERY few of those so far. Have fun with the fascinating world of technology metals in 2015.

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Degussa PforzheimCongratulations to my friends at Degussa on their new precious metals refinery in Pforzheim, Germany. History has gone full circle. Proud and grateful to be part of it. Here is a link to their original press release.

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As part of my “Tech Metals Insider” column on KITCO News I just released the first part of a segment drilling deeper into which metals are used where, and in what quantities. To make it as user friendly as possible I condensed the information collected over the past six months into one spreadsheet which is available for download here: Technology metals in passenger cars part 1. As a faithful reader of my personal blog you have preferred access – I will post a link to the official article as soon as it was published.

Tech Mets in Cars Title

Part 2 will deal with the many little helpers, fairies and gremlins in our cars that we don’t even think about anymore. Should be even more fun than this one so please check back for it next week. And before I forget, this previously published picture might be useful to provide additional context.

this picture

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My friends at KITCO News are in the process of revamping their website. As you may have noticed, my first slide on technology metals used in cars was not as legible in the article as it could have been. So I will use this blog to collect all three charts I prepared in high resolution, plus additional documents and references as they may come up.

Up front, here is a legend of the metals shown in the charts:

Precious Metals:

  • Ag – Silver
  • Au – Gold
  • Pt – Platinum
  • Pd – Palladium
  • Rh – Rhodium
  • Ru – Ruthenium
  • Ir – Iridium
  • Os – Osmium

Rare Earths Elements

  • Ce – Cerium
  • Dy – Dysprosium
  • Er – Erbium
  • Eu – Europium
  • Gd – Gadolinium
  • Ho – Holmium
  • La – Lanthanum
  • Lu – Lutetium
  • Nd – Neodymium
  • Pr – Praseodymium
  • Pm – Promethium
  • Sm – Samarium
  • Sc – Scandium
  • Tb – Terbium
  • Tm – Thulium
  • Yb – Ytterbium
  • Y – Yttrium

Specialty Metals / other elements

  • Ga – Gallium
  • In – Indium
  • Ge – Germanium
  • Re – Rhenium
  • Se – Selenium
  • Te – Tellurium
  • Tl – Thallium

Slide 1:

TMI Slides Part 1Slide 2:

TMI Slides Part 2

Slide 3:

TMI Slides Part 3

The most recent complete report on Critical Materials published by the European Union can be found here.

The 2012 risk list of the British Geological Survey is here.

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From time to time I look back at my blogs. Topics, categories, search strings and statistics provide an image of what I like to write about, what readers want to read about, and the part where both overlap. If you recall, after a brief excursion into the world of “precious metals only” I returned to “Marketing and The Meaning of Life” quickly after realizing that neither I nor my readers enjoyed what I wrote. Ever since my blogs have been hovering around several hundred readers each, plus minus, and I want to thank every one of you for lending me your time and for sending the occasional comment.

Still, life goes on, things progress and I may have changed a little over time. My observations are:

  • While blogging about “current affairs” is incredibly satisfying it is also true that these blogs never seem to change anything. So what’s the point?
  • With the appearance of the electric BMW in my life last year (and its disappearance earlier this year) I discovered how fascinating the world of alternative energy really is. I have since become more involved with the technology and logistics behind these vehicles, learned much about other alternative technologies such as hydrogen, and of course the materials required to enable them. So my blog has turned into a car blog a bit more than anything else last year.
  • Lastly, I find myself not reading as many blogs anymore as I used to. No disrespect to my fellow bloggers, some of which are good friends of mine, but it seems like I am not the only person experiencing “blogging fatigue” after everything of relevance has already been said before by someone else.

Instead, I find myself drawn more towards topical news, information and industry insider commentaries on discoveries, technologies and trends. Which lead me to combine the two: with my unique exposure to the precious metals and specialty metals / rare earths industries combined with my passion for everything that moves fast I am confident to be in the right spot to pick up topics at the intersection of both areas, report and interpret on developments, and hopefully manage to insert the occasional interview with interesting people from participating industries. And I promise my sentences will be shorter.

Bodo 2013So here is the plan: my blog will go passive for a little bit and relaunch in September this year with a new focus, and a new design. Anyone sharing my passion or wanting to contribute is invited to do so. I hope you will like the new “Eniqma”. Of course my other website pages will remain in place. Where else in the world do you find information on Albert Schweitzer, Taekwondo and Deaf Cats on the same website? I am conscious of my responsibilities. 😉  Also, some of my older blogs are still getting hits on a regular basis so I’ll leave the archive in place.

Again, thanks for tuning in, and I hope you’ll be giving the new “Eniqma” a shot.

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The world is 2% evil. More or less. 2-3% is the theft rate in stores, there are 1% psychopaths around us, and 2% of the American population are incarcerated, justly or not, while crime continues.

Evil is a condition, a desire to destruct, exploit, or both. Nobody is born evil, there are reasons why people become evil over time and I won’t get into that today. You may want to check out my blog on psychoanalysis for more details. Which is why Evil will always surround us, it will never stop. So any “war on [insert Evil here]” is by default doomed to failure. “The Evil is always and everywhere” is a line from an EAV song from back in the ’80s. The context was humorous but it is true.

So how do we cope with Evil? It depends.

  • Shop owners know of the marginal utility of security cameras, guards etc so they resort to a mix of deterrence (guards in menacing uniforms, visible cameras and so on) while factoring the inevitable into their price.
  • On a larger scale, we all have to accept that life as it is may kill us. The chance is small unless your job involves politics or driving in New Jersey. But it is always there, and no amount of money will change your odds.

The ultimate answer to Evil is Humanity.

“The most dangerous world view is that of the man who has not viewed the world”, said German scientist Alexander von Humboldt, and he was right. Knowing each other creates familiarity, and crime rates within families are quite low. When employees feel appreciated, when they work in a small group rather than an anonymous mass of people they are less susceptible to committing crimes. Did you know you can reduce your risk of hotel room theft by 80% simply by introducing yourself in a few friendly words to the cleaning staff?

Historically, we have moved from one country quarreling with another country to more anonymous disputes where people hide behind e-mail addresses, and they use joy sticks to kill people they have never met in another part of the world. We are fed bytes of information and labels by people with an agenda rather than asking “the tough questions” ourselves. If we can manage to reverse this effect, if we can get ourselves to being more inquisitive and personally involved again, if we can create an environment of inclusion rather than retreat into our cocoons, then Evil is much less likely to show its, well, evil face.

Too abstract, you say? Okay, then let’s look at two examples from my industry. In precious metals, we distinguish between internal and external threats. External threats are break-ins and robberies from outside the plant. Internal threats are mainly theft by employees. Here is a comparison of two companies I have dealt with recently:

  1. Company A is a fortress. Barbed wire, closed circuit TV, at times there were guard dogs and discussions of building a moat. Employees leave all personal items in lockers when they enter. There are strict rules on what else they can take inside and they are all searched on their way out. Much like at airports, but more focused (on precious metals). You can not open any windows in this plant because someone might slingshot metal out. There is a general atmosphere of “we don’t trust anyone”. Fluctuation is quite high.
  2. Company B looks like most other companies you know. A friendly reception area where you are greeted by your name (for which the receptionist has a photographic memory), understated security features, an organization where people work together in small groups. There is a random check of people’s bags upon exit, mostly – I think – to please the insurance company. People are friendly, happy even to work there, and many have done so for most of their adult life.

Crime? A topic of constant concern to company A. It is on their minds in whatever they do. Company B? It’s not a topic anybody I met spends much time on. Almost nothing ever happens. The lesson? Security is all about persons, not about procedures, hard- and software. It is about a positive environment that includes instead of alienates. And while there will never be 100% security the risks will be largely diminished, and the 2% will stop dictating us 98% how to live.

Give it a chance. Be fearless. It will make you safer.

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A Skype interview with some issues in sound quality. Hope you’ll enjoy it, anyway:

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