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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

West, J. M.
Platinum: group metals,   pp. 1043-1054 PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 1054

1054 MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1972 
Mines Ltd. was marketed by Johnson Matthey & Co. Ltd. and Engeihard Minerals
& Chemicals Corp.; Impala Platinum Ltd. sold through Ayrton Metals Ltd.;
Western Platinum Ltd. sales were handled by Falconbridge Nickel Mines Ltd.;
and 
Atok Investments (Pty) Ltd's limited production was sold through the Anglo-Vaal
Group. Stocks of platinum-group metals on hand in South Africa were estimated
about 500,000 ounces in September 1972. 
TECHNOLOGY 
 Interest in platinum technology in 1972 centered around development of viable
catalytic exhaust emission systems for automobiles to enable new production
models to meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act of 1970, as amended.
Problems of configuration, support mechanisms, most effective and economic
platinum metal compositions, durability and location of units with respect
to other exhaust components were studied.12 Generally, a composition of platinum
and palladium on a ceramic honeycomb support structure was found to be effective
and promising. General Motors Corp. reportedly was testing two dual catalytic
systems, one of which would use a combination of 0.1 ounce of platinum and
0.04 ounce of palladium per automobile.13 Ruthenium was also expected to
be incorporated in smaller quantities. With the expected use of platinum
catalytic devices will come increased demand for unleaded gasolines, because
lead in existing fuels "poisons" the catalysts rendering the units ineffective.
A consequence was that platinum metals would also be needed in greater quantities
for reforming and other refining operations to increase gasoline extraction
and octane ratings. 
 As in past years, Johnson, Matthey & Co. Ltd., of London, published
its quarterly, Platinum Metals Review, describing research and developments
in the platinum metals. Among the more interesting reports 
-in 1972 were those on "High Pressure Research on Palladium-Hydrogen Systems"
(January, pp. 10—15), "Platinum Catalysts in Lead-Free Gasoline Production"
(April, pp. 42—47), "Automobile Emission Control Systems" (July, pp.
74—86), and a review of the "Fifth International Congress on Catalysis"
(October, pp. 138—139). Unique catalytic properties were noted when
platinum metal halides were reacted with aromatic radical-ions such as sodium
napthalide and related species in a study of the products of such reactions.1~
As an example, platinum prepared in this way 
could be dissolved readily in hot 68% nitric acid. Outstanding activity was
shown by the platinum-group metals as catalysts in the oxidation of organic
compounds by molecular oxygen. Electrostatic and magnetic susceptibility
properties were also changed. 
 Occurrence and distribution of platinum, palladium, and rhodium in the Stillwater
Complex of Montana was described." Values generally were too low to have
economic significance. Existence of a platinum indicator flower, identified
as Eritrichium chamissonis, was reported in Alaska after a study of its association
with ultrabasic rocks on Red Mountain, believed to be the source of platinum
deposits in Goodnews Bay, Alaska.16 The flower was found to be a useful prospecting
guide to the soil overlying deposits. These soils were favored by the plant
owing to release of leachable cations in the process of weathering, but the
plant itself did not appear to take up platinum. 
 Platinum-group metals were recovered with other precious metals from electronic
scrap in experiments conducted by the Bureau of Mines at its Salt Lake City
Metallurgy Research Center 17 and its Boulder City Metallurgy Research Laboratory.1S
 12 Work cited in footnote 5. 
 "Work cited in footnote 4. 
 14 Booth, D. J., D. Bryce-Smith, and A, Gilbert. Novel Procedures for the
Preparation of Platinum and Other Metals in Forms Having Abnormally High
Catalytic Activity. Chem. & md. (London), No. 17, Sept. 2, 1972, pp.
688—689. 
15 Page, Norman J., Leonard B. Riley, and 
Joseph Haifty Vertical and Lateral Variation of 
Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium in the Still- 
water Complex, Montana. Econ. Geol., v. 67, No. 
7, November 1972, pp. 915—923. 
 ' 6Rudolph, W. W~ and J. R. Moore. A New and Strange Prospecting Guide Alaska
Construction & Oil Report, February 1972, pp. 40—41. 
 ~'  Dannenberg, R. 0., J. M. Maurice, and G. 
M. Potter, Recovery of Precious Metals From Electronic Scrap. BuMines RI
7683, 1972, 19 pp. 18 Sullivan, T. A., R. L. de Beauchamp, and E. 
L. Singleton. Recovery of Aluminum, Base, and 
Precious Metals From Electronic Scrap. BuMines 
RI 7617, 1972, 16 pp. 


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