Deer Horn Completes Prospecting Program

Deer Horn Metals Inc. (TSXV:DHM) completed its 10-day prospecting program on its Deer Horn property in...

October 11th, 2012

China’s Solar Industry Beset by Tariffs

Facing increasing tariffs, ballooning output and markets saturated by oversupply, Chinese solar panel producers are facing...

October 9th, 2012

Tellurium Market Update (October 10, 2012)

A brief overview of tellurium price developments, supply and demand and significant market movers.

October 9th, 2012

Deer Horn Metals Closes $133,000 Private Placement

Deer Horn Metals Inc. (TSXV:DHM) announced that the previously announced non-brokered and oversubscribed private placement for...

October 9th, 2012

Tellurium Leaps into Digital Storage Industry

As the world enters the age of miniaturized computing, tellurium is playing a lead role in...

September 11th, 2012

Tellurium Market Update (September 12, 2012)

A brief overview of tellurium price developments, supply and demand and significant market movers.

September 11th, 2012

Deer Horn Metals Announces Private Placement for Gross Proceeds...

Deer Horn Metals Inc.(TSXV:DHM) announced that it has arranged a new non-brokered Private Placement for gross...

August 29th, 2012

Deer Horn Metals Receives Initial Results from Airborne Survey...

Deer Horn Metals Inc.(TSXV:DHM) announced the latest progress updates from its Deer Horn property. The Company...

August 28th, 2012

Tellurium Beyond Solar: Demand Still Strong

Solar energy has monopolized tellurium headlines lately, but what other markets exist for tellurium?

August 19th, 2012

Tellurium Market Update (August 20, 2012)

A brief overview of tellurium price developments, supply and demand, and significant market movers.

August 19th, 2012
Tellurium is unknown to many investors, but its importance is rapidly increasing. Technically a metalloid in elemental form, tellurium is used in rewritable optical discs (CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray), and for the new generation of RAM known as PRAM. However, it is in the production of solar panels that many investors see the most potential for tellurium. Tellurium works well in solar panels because when alloyed with a number of elements — such as cadmium, mercury, bismuth and zinc — it forms a telluride compound that furthers a material’s ability to conduct electricity; this ability is enhanced during exposure to light. Cadmium telluride in particular has become increasingly sought after as a source material for thin-film photovoltaic solar panels. Thin-film...

Tellurium is unknown to many investors, but its importance is rapidly increasing. Technically a metalloid in elemental form, tellurium is used in rewritable optical discs (CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray), and for the new generation of RAM known as PRAM.

However, it is in the production of solar panels that many investors see the most potential for tellurium. Tellurium works well in solar panels because when alloyed with a number of elements — such as cadmium, mercury, bismuth and zinc — it forms a telluride compound that furthers a material’s ability to conduct electricity; this ability is enhanced during exposure to light.

Cadmium telluride in particular has become increasingly sought after as a source material for thin-film photovoltaic solar panels. Thin-film panels have quickly pushed their predecessors to the backburner as they can be produced for a fraction of the cost.

That said, substitutes for tellurium do exist, with selenium, niobium and tantalum being a few; however, none of those materials possesses tellurium’s high-application qualities.

In terms of where tellurium is found, it’s generally discovered fused in telluride ores of gold, copper and silver. Currently, a whopping 90 percent of tellurium is produced as a by-product of copper mining and processing. That said, some gold, bismuth, silver and lead producers have also been able to extract the metal in small quantities.

Tellurium is mined primarily in the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia. The US Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that in 2014 Canada, Japan and Russia put out 10 MT, 45 MT and 40 MT of tellurium, respectively. The United States’ production information was withheld to avoid disclosing company proprietary data.

The USGS estimates that worldwide tellurium reserves sit at just 24,000 MT.

Looking at pricing, the USGS states that in 2014, the metal’s price “continued to exhibit a seasonal price fluctuation … with the peak price occurring in the summer months due to China’s increased demand for thermoelectrics.”

In 2000, the tellurium price was around US$14 per pound for 99.5 percent purity. The price almost tripled from 2009 to 2011, reaching around US$400 per kilogram. However, it only took a year or so for the price to fall down to about US$170 per kilogram. Midway through 2015, the tellurium price was sitting at around US$60 per kilogram.

Moving forward, another USGS report states that the tellurium market will be driven not only by demand from the solar sector, but also by copper production, and to a lesser extent the production of gold, lead, nickel or zinc from sulfide ores.

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