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The 'heaviest' and most expensive metal on Earth revealed: it costs 30 times more than gold, reaching R$10 per gram

Written by Valdemar Medeiros
Published 13/06/2024 às 00:14
The 'heaviest' metal on Earth is revealed to cost 30 times more than gold, reaching R$10 per gram
Photo: Osmium – glitters, but it’s not gold/Dall-e

Discover the 'heaviest' metal on Earth. With a density that surpasses lead and iridium, osmium can still be 30 times more expensive than gold, costing R$10 per gram, check out all the details!

When we imagine something heavy, we usually think of large objects that are difficult to move. However, this characteristic also applies to chemical elements in nature, especially when we consider density. Osmium, a precious metal found in the periodic table, stands out as the densest and one of the most expensive on the planet, even exceeding 30 times the value of gold. Find out more about Osmium, the heaviest metal that reigns at the top of the density and value rankings.

Osmium, an extremely rare and dense metal, has a market value that surprises even the most experienced connoisseurs of precious metals. This element, known for its incredible resistance to corrosion and impressive hardness, surpasses the value of gold by more than 30 times.

How should the 'heaviest' metal on Earth be calculated?

To make the issue even more complex, even the word “weight” is relative and full of meanings in Chemistry. Therefore, before defining which metal occupies the highest place on the podium, it is first necessary to establish some concepts and rules for competitors.

When we talk about weight on a daily basis, we are talking about mass, the number of kilograms or grams of a material, for example. However, the calculation here is based on another aspect, density. Density is the result of the calculation between mass and volume, that is, how much of a substance is concentrated in a given space.

The denser the material, the more of its atoms are packed together in a small area. Density takes into account the union of atoms of an element in a given space. This concept is also different from atomic weight or relative atomic mass. Despite the name confusion, this is the average value of the mass of the atoms of an element, calculated from the equivalent of 1/12 the mass of isotope 12 of the element carbon.

A price disparity is mainly due to its rarity and the complexities involved in its extraction and processing. In addition to being used in high-strength alloys for fountain pens and compass needles, osmium also has significant applications in fields such as medicine and the chemical industry, which further justifies its high market price. The demand for this precious metal, combined with its scarce supply, ensures that it remains one of the most valuable in the world, surpassing gold in terms of cost per gram.

How was Osmium discovered?

As an MGP, the 'heaviest' metal on Earth can also appear associated with platinum, as in the Ural Mountains regions and North and South America. It can also be found in some nickel ores, as in the city of Sudbury, province of Ontario, Canada.

The 'heaviest' metal on Earth is revealed to cost 30 times more than gold, reaching R$10 per gram
Photo: Brasil Escola/Reproduction

The metal was discovered by English chemist Smithson Tennant. In 1800, Tennant set up an enterprise to sell platinum, starting to manufacture large samples of the material. He realized, as did others before him, that mining platinum by grinding its raw ore with aqua regia generated an insoluble black residue. 

In 1804, he announced that he had isolated two new metals, these being iridium and osmium. The word osmium comes from the Greek osme and means odor, in reference to the intense and peculiar odor of its oxide. It is worth mentioning that The 'heaviest' metal on Earth is currently around 30 times more expensive than gold.

Osmium: Exceeding the value of Gold by up to 30 times!!

Osmium is an extremely rare and dense metal, which is up to 30 times more expensive than gold. This high cost is due to its rarity and the difficulties of extraction and processing. Osmium is the densest metal on Earth, with a density that exceeds that of lead and iridium.

Its market value can reach up to R$ 10 thousand per gram, making it one of the most valuable and exclusive metals in the world. Osmium's high density and unique properties make it essential in specialized applications, although its use is limited due to its toxicity when in uncrystallized form (Metalary)​​ (duPont REGISTRY News).

Largest Osmium reserves in the world and the presence of the metal in Brazil

The largest osmium reserves are found mainly in Russia, Canada, and South Africa, where the metal is extracted as a byproduct of platinum and nickel mining. These regions concentrate most of the world's production, which is extremely low due to the rarity of the metal.

Annually, less than a ton of osmium is mined, which significantly contributes to its high market value. The difficulty in mining and refining osmium, along with its rarity, makes it highly valued for both industrial purposes and long-term investments.

In Brazil, osmium is not found in significant quantities and, therefore, is not an important source of extraction. The country focuses its efforts on other, more abundant minerals and metals.

However, due to the globalization of precious metals markets, interested Brazilian investors can purchase osmium through international markets, taking advantage of its appreciation as a unique investment asset. While Brazil has vast reserves of other mineral resources, osmium remains a rarity and is obtained mainly through imports from countries with larger reserves.

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Valdemar Medeiros

Journalist in training, specialist in creating content with a focus on SEO actions. Writes about the Automotive Industry, Renewable Energy and Science and Technology

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