GOLD! Perhaps no other market in the world has the universal appeal of gold. For centuries, it has been coveted for it unique blend of rarity, beauty and near indestructibility. Nations have embraced gold as a store of wealth and a medium of international exchange; individuals have sought to possess gold as insurance against the day-to-day uncertainties of paper money.
Commercial concentrations of gold are found in widely distributed areas: in association with ores of copper and lead, in quartz veins, in the gravel of streambeds, and with pyrites (iron sulfide). Seawater contains astonishing quantities of gold, but its recovery is not economical.
The worlds unmined reserves are estimated at 1 billion troy ounces, with about half located in the Witwatersrand area of South Africa. The Commonwealth of Independent States, Canada, United States, Brazil and Australia are also major producers.Today, gold prices float freely in accordance with supply and demand, responding quickly to political and economic events. SILVER Silver, pleasing to the eye and easy to work with, has attracted man's interest for thousands of years. In ancient times, silver deposits were plentiful on or near the earths surface. Relics of ancient civilizations include jewellery, religious artefacts and food vessels formed from the durable, malleable metal.
Today, silver is sought as a valuable and practical industrial commodity, and as an appealing investment. The largest industrial users of silver are the photographic, jewellery and electronic industries.
Newly mined metal provides much of the needed supply, and Mexico, United States and Peru are the primary producers. Secondary silver sources include coin melt, scrap recovery and dishoarding from countries where export is restricted. Secondary sources are particularly price sensitive.PLATINUM & PALLADIUMPlatinum & Palladium are the most widely used of the six platinum group metals (PGM) the group also includes rhodium, ruthenium, osmium and iridium. These metals possess unique chemical and physical qualities that make them vital industrial materials. They are especially valued for their catalytic functions, their conductivity and their resistance to corrosion. They are essential in key manufacturing processes in the automobile, chemical, petroleum refining, pharmaceutical and electronics industries. Platinum is also increasingly being used by the jewellery industry as designers are taking advantage of its durability and lustre to create striking pieces.
Another characteristic of PGM demand is that most of it originates far from the source of supply. United States industry consumes close to 40% of annual world production of platinum and palladium, but more than 90% of the worlds supply originates in South Africa & the Soviet Union (Canada is the only other significant producer)
Platinum and Palladium are among the worlds scarcest metals. Only about 4.5 million troy ounces of platinum and approximately 5 million troy ounces of palladium entered western markets in 1994. By comparison, worldwide mine production of gold totalled approximately 70 million ounces in 1994, while supplies of newly mined silver totalled approximately 440 million ounces