Platinum is a rare, dense, and ductile metal that is valued for its various physical and chemical properties. It is widely used in various industrial, electronic, and jewelry applications due to its unique combination of strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion. Platinum is formed through a complex and lengthy process that takes place deep within the earth’s mantle.
The formation of platinum begins with the release of magma from deep within the earth’s mantle. The magma, composed of molten rock and mineral, rises to the surface and begins to cool, solidifying into solid rock. As the rock solidifies, minerals within it begin to separate into distinct layers due to differences in density and melting point. The lighter, more volatile elements tend to rise to the top, while the heavier elements sink to the bottom.
One of the heavier elements that can be found in this layer is the metal element PGE (Platinum Group Elements), which consists of six elements: platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium. These elements are referred to as “PGEs” because of their close chemical and physical similarities. The formation of these elements is thought to occur as a result of high-temperature and high-pressure conditions that exist within the earth’s mantle.
Once the PGEs are formed, they are subject to geological processes such as erosion, sedimentation, and metamorphism. Erosion removes the solid rock and mineral from the earth’s surface, exposing the underlying PGEs to the elements. The PGEs can then be transported away from their source by water or wind and deposited in other areas. This process of transport and deposition is known as sedimentation.
Metamorphism, on the other hand, involves the alteration of rock and mineral through heat and pressure. This process can occur as a result of tectonic activity, such as the collision of two tectonic plates, which can result in high-pressure and high-temperature conditions within the earth’s crust. Under these conditions, the PGEs can be subjected to metamorphism, leading to the formation of new minerals and the redistribution of the PGEs.
After the PGEs have been subjected to erosion, sedimentation, and metamorphism, they can eventually become concentrated in specific areas, forming what is known as a “PGE deposit”. PGE deposits can be found in various geological environments, including volcanic-associated deposits, magmatic-associated deposits, and placer deposits.
Volcanic-associated deposits form as a result of the interaction of magma with the surrounding rock and mineral. The PGEs that are present in the magma can become concentrated in specific areas as a result of the cooling and solidification process. Magmatic-associated deposits, on the other hand, form as a result of the crystallization of magma in the earth’s mantle. The PGEs become concentrated in specific areas as the magma cools and solidifies.
Placer deposits are formed as a result of the erosion and transport of PGE-rich rocks and minerals. The PGEs become concentrated in specific areas as they are transported and deposited by water or wind.
Once a PGE deposit has been formed, the PGEs can be extracted through a process known as mining. Mining involves the excavation of the PGE-rich rock and mineral, which is then processed to extract the PGEs. The processing of the PGE-rich rock and mineral can involve a variety of techniques, including crushing, grinding, and flotation.