Ruthenium bullion prices (EIB) opened at US$285/toz on friday, October 3rd, 2008. Prices continue to exhibit a flat if not slightly declining trend. The price trend over the last 5 years can be seen on the chart below. The dramatic hockey stick price curve peaked in February of 2007 and has since been in general decline to the present quiescent state.

There are many channels for Ruthenium in the market place, but they are all rather specialized. So far, Ruthenium has not found its way into the jewelry market. This is good news for industrial users. Ruthenium has applications in the semiconductor business, as an electrode additive for chlorine production, is an additive in Rhenium  containing turbine blades, and as a catalyst for metathesis chemistry.

Some demand for Ruthenium (and Iridium) is due to the BP Cativa (R) Process for the production of acetic acid from MeOH and CO. This technology was introduced in 1996. The Cativa (R) process is a catalytic system which has largely superceded the older Monsanto Rhodium-based process with an Iridium carbonyl species to perform the catalytic transformation. Of interest to the Ru market is that the use of a Ruthenium promoter (and lithium) dramatically improves the rate of carbonylation.

Advertisements