Gold | Silver | Platinum | Palladium | US Dollar

The official discovery of palladium is attributed to William Hyde Wollaston in 1803, who named the element after an asteroid - Pallas. Palladium is found in ore deposits in Russia, Australia, South and North America. Palladium may often be tied closely to nickel production in places like South Africa, Siberia, and Ontario, Canada. It can also be found in gold or copper ores.

Palladium sources on a global level are illustrated as follows:

Palladium is soft and silver-white like platinum and does not tarnish in air. It is harder and lighter than platinum. Where commercial deposits are concerned, the largest estimated deposits - over 90% of the world total - occur at the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa and in Norilsk in Siberia. Palladium can also be recycled. According to the USGS, nearly 10,400 kilograms of platinum group metals were recovered from scrap in 2006.

*Data courtesy of the USGS

*Data courtesy of the USGS

Regional Concentration: Like platinum, a huge percentage of current palladium mining also confined primarily to South Africa and Russia, leaving the door open for the possibility that any political concerns or regional activity could affect supply. An excellent example of this could be the recent sales of palladium from Russian stockpiles since the overall stockpiles held by the central bank and state are unknown.

Palladium is hypoallergenic and can be used in jewelry manufacture, wearing better than white gold. In fact, it has been employed as a jewelry metal since 1939. However, the primary destination for nearly 50 percent of palladium is automobile catalysts. Palladium absorbs large quantities of hydrogen and can also be used to store the same. It is also used as plating for electronics, dental alloys, watch making, surgical instruments, and blood sugar test strips.

Perceived Scarcity: As with other platinum group metals, the possible or perceived global availability of palladium may impact forecasts for future supply.

Applications: New applications, as well as an increase in the existing technologies which employ platinum group metals, could shift the supply and demand dynamics rather quickly. The continued efforts to control emissions are significant especially with a possible shift to palladium rather than platinum.