Rare Metal Investments – Germanium

investing in rare earth metal - germanium

Germanium is in the E Basket.

Neptune, the 8th planet from the sun was mathematically predicted to exist before astronomers found it in 1846. This explains why Germanium would have been named Neptunium, if that name hadn’t already been used. Interestingly, like Neptune, Germanium was “predicted” about 20 years before it was discovered.
In 1869, Russian chemist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev predicted an element existed between silicon and tin in his periodic table. 16 years later, another scientist discovered this mineral in a mine close to Freiberg Saxony. Yet another scientist, chemist Chemens Winkler, analyzed the mineral and proved it was a combination of silver, sulphur, and a new element. He named the element Germanium, after his beloved homeland Germany.
Originally it was almost exclusively used for semi-conductors. In 1948, a germanium transistor created high demand in solid state conductors.
Today, Germanium is found in applications related to fiber optics, infrared optics, and solar cell applications. While there is experimentation for use in pharmaceuticals, any applications there are unproven.
Because of its low optical dispersion, Germanium is useful in wide angle camera lenses and optical fibers. It’s also a catalyst for polymerization and used in a PET plastic bottle made in Japan. A large proportion of the available supply is used in solar energy applications.
A large percentage of Germanium comes from countries not friendly to the “west”. China produces 71%, and Russia produces 4%. Only 2.5% comes from the U.S.
Germanium was “predicted” before it was actually discovered. SMH Panama S.A. predicts it will continue to have a strong demand, and limited supply, for many years to come.

Specifications

Element Symbol: Ge
Atomic mass: 72.64 amu
Atomic radius: 122 pm
Density: 5.323 g/cm³
Colour: Greyish White
Melting point: 938.25 °C
Boiling point: 2,833 °C
Heat of evaporation: 334 kJ/mol
Annual production worldwide approx.: 18 t.

Application

  • Fiber Optics
  • Camera Lenses
  • Re-writable DVDs
  • Infrared Optical Equipment
  • High Speed Integrated Circuits
  • Photo-voltaic Cells
  • Solar Panels
  • PET Bottles
  • Radiation Identification