May 17, 2020

[SLIDESHOW] The 5 Deadliest Minerals Ever Mined

2 min
[SLIDESHOW] The 5 Deadliest Minerals Ever Mined
The mission of the mining industry is to dig up valuable commodities and sell them. Many of those commodities -- gold, silver and iron ore -- are used i...

The mission of the mining industry is to dig up valuable commodities and sell them. Many of those commodities -- gold, silver and iron ore -- are used in everyday items from jewelry and tableware to iPhones and circuit boards. And while the Earth provides some of the most lucrative minerals and metals known to man, it also produces some of the most dangerous.

The following five minerals, although mesmerizing and beautiful, have the potential to kill you.

1. Cinnabar

Cinnabar is visually stunning. It is bright scarlet to brick red in color and resembles quartz in its symmetry and optical characteristics. Overall, it's a gorgeous mineral to look at.

It’s also the deadliest.

Cinnabar (otherwise known as mercury sulphide) is the single most toxic mineral known to man. Generally found in large quantities and in non-metallic crystals around the world, it has been a primary source for mercury since the earliest days of civilization.  The problem with Cinnabar, is when oxidized it produces methyl and dimethy mercury, two toxic compounds that cause terminal damage to the nervous system.

2. Torbernite

Don’t let its beauty fool you. Torbernite is a radioactive mineral from hell.

The rich green crystals, which occur as secondary deposits in granite, contain uranium and have the ability to produce radon gas capable of causing lung cancer. Although the bright green crystals are striking to look at, they’re an obvious factor in identifying radioactivity.

3. Crocidolite

Otherwise known as blue asbestos, crocidolite is a death sentence as the exposure of this fibrous mineral causes fatal diseases including lung and mesothelial cancer.

Mined mostly in South Africa, Bolivia and Australia, this mineral was once widely used for an array of commercial and industrial applications due to its intense resistances to heat. Between 1943 and 1966, the mining of crocidolite killed more than 1,000 miners and residents in the town of Wittenoom in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

4. Stibnite

Although stibnite does resemble silver in some fashion, it’s actually antimony sulfide, which means those sword shaped crystals have the powers to kill you.

The mineral, which was once used for producing eating utensils, killed thousands of people before it became known that use of the mineral caused fatal food poisoning. Stibnite should be handled with immense caution.

5. Quartz

Believe it or not, quartz is not your friend. While it may be the second most common mineral on Earth, when grinded up and inhaled, this devil of a mineral will cause difficulties in breathing and eventual lung cancer.

Specific industries like mining, abrasives and glass manufacturing have all implemented strict guidelines by OSHA dictating workers wear fumigators to limit their intake. 


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May 6, 2021

Copper, iron ore surge as Chinese investors unleash demand

Iron ore
3 min
Iron ore broke $200 a tonne for the first time, while copper approached a record high as Chinese investors unleashed fresh demand following May holiday

The reopening of major industrial economies is sparking a surge across commodities markets from corn to lumber, with tin climbing above $30,000 a tonne for the first time since 2011 on Thursday.

In the wake of mounting evidence of inflation fuelled by higher raw materials prices, investors are also increasingly focused on when the U.S. Federal Reserve might start throttling back its emergency support.


Many banks say the rally has further to run, particularly for copper, which will benefit from rising investment in new energy sectors. Copper is at the highest in a decade, fueling bets it will rally further to take out the record set in February 2011. Steel demand is surging as economies chart a path back to growth just as the world’s biggest miners have been hampered by operational issues, tightening ore supply.

“The long-term prospects for metals prices are ‘too good’ and point to higher prices in the next few years,” said Commerzbank AG analyst Daniel Briesemann. “The decarbonization trends in many countries, which include switching to electric vehicles and expanding wind and solar power, are likely to generate additional demand for metals.”

Trading house Trafigura Group and several major Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. expect copper to extend gains.

Copper rose as much as 1.6% to $10,108.50 a ton on the London Metal Exchange before trading at $10,080 as of 4:07 p.m. in London.


Iron Ore

Benchmark spot iron ore prices rose to a record, while futures in Singapore and China climbed.

The boom comes as China’s steelmakers keep output rates above 1 billion tons a year, despite a swath of production curbs aimed at reducing carbon emissions and reining in supply. Instead, those measures have boosted steel prices and profitability at mills, allowing them to better accommodate higher iron ore costs.

Spot iron ore with 62% content hit $201.15 a ton on Thursday, according to Mysteel. Futures in Singapore jumped as much as 5.1% to $196.40 a ton, the highest since contracts were launched in 2013. In Dalian, prices closed 8.8% higher.

Erik Hedborg, Principal Analyst, Steel at CRU Group commented: “Recent production cuts in Tangshan have boosted demand for higher-quality ore and prompted mills to build iron ore inventories as their margins are on the rise. Iron ore producers are enjoying exceptionally high margins as well, around two thirds of seaborne supply only require prices of $50 /dmt to break even.”


Still, some analysts including Commerzbank’s Briesemann expect a short-term correction as metals become detached from fundamentals. There’s also a risk that China could engage in policies that may cool demand for iron ore and copper.

The metals rally has boosted concerns about short-term Chinese demand. Some manufacturers and end-users have been slowing production or pushing back delivery times after costs surged, while weaker-than-expected domestic consumption has opened the arbitrage window for exports.

Tin climbed as much as 2% to $30,280 a ton on the LME, boosted by rising orders for the soldering metal. Tin is at the highest since May 2011, with a 48% gain this year making it the best performing metal on the LME.



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