When thinking of minerals, gold is king and silver tracks its performance closely. Lithium, cobalt, lead and coltan, just to mention a few, have been on trend over recent years. But the market is likely to open to a set of new and mysterious minerals being found in the least expected forms and places.
Curious? Keep reading!
Counting New Minerals:
Was discovered inside a meteorite found in Buryatia, Russia in 2016. After two years of testing, researchers from the Ural Federal University, Novosibirsk State University and the Geological Institute at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science uncovered that it is harder than a diamond. Although Uakitite’s discovery spurred further studies into space mineralogy, the amount discovered on earth was so small that it is unlikely to enter the mineral market.
Calcium Silicate Perovskite:
speaking of diamonds, this new mineral is found deeply embedded within Mother Earth. Like Uakitite, CSP will not be seen on the markets any time soon as its carbon structure means it cannot exist on the earth’s surface. It is estimated to be the fourth most prevalent element on earth, but due to pressure it is not stable on the earth’s surface. As a result, it is hidden from scientists’ sight at 400 miles below surface. The closest humankind has come to studying CPS is in its compressed form inside diamonds.
A rare form of calcium carbonate, was recently found in plants for the first time by scientists at Sainsbury Laboratory at Cambridge University. Rarely encountered on earth, Vaterite crystals can appear in the silvery-white protective crust over alpine plants, freshwater crustaceans and, weirdly, the inner ears of salmon, among precious few other locations. This scarce mineral is of interest to the pharmaceutical industry as its unique properties make it an enhanced medication carrier. It could help limit the side-effects of some drugs, such as cancer treatments.
To complete the count, Rare Earth cannot be excluded – not a new mineral per se but a composition of different ores, such as yttrium, dysprosium and europium. Rare earth is present in most technological devices. While deposits can be found on earth’s surface, its natural dispersion makes it hard to find in substantial amounts. China controlled about 95 percent of global rare earth supply, monopolizing its prices for major electronics manufacturers. But a recent discovery made by Japanese scientists is expected to become a game changer with the discovery of a deposit near the coast of Japan that is expected to contain 16 million tons and a supply lasting about 800 years.