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Rhenium: Son Of Moly - Features and Interviews - Hard Assets Investor
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Rhenium: Son Of Moly
Written by Tom Vulcan
August 05, 2008 12:00 am EDT
Back in 1870, had you scanned the periodic table below to find rhenium, you wouldn't have found it - it wasn't there. There
were still gaps for predicted, but-as-yet-undiscovered, elements, and one of them was waiting for rhenium.
The Periodic Table
In fact the element (atomic number 75), was only discovered some 55 years later, in 1925, by a team of German scientists:
Otto Berg, Walter Noddack and Ida Tacke. They subsequently named rhenium after the river Rhine. Indeed, rhenium was
one of the two last naturally occurring chemical elements to be discovered. One of the reasons is that it occurs neither
freely in nature nor as a compound in a distinct mineral species. Once it has been extracted, however, rhenium is a heavy,
silvery white metal.
Son Of Moly
Rhenium is the "Son of Moly" for a couple of reasons. Not only is most rhenium today produced as a by-product of the
copper and molybdenum mining industries, but like molybdenum, rhenium has some very special, if not unique, properties.
Like moly, also, there's not much of it around. In fact, there's considerably less rhenium than there is moly. In the Earth's
crust, it is only to be found in single-digit parts in a billion. Only about 50 metric tonnes of it are produced each year, and
total world reserves of the metal are probably not much more than 10,000 metric tonnes.