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BISMUTH

  • Bismuth
  • Mines Producing Bismuth

Only mercury has a lower thermal conductivity than Bismuth but bismuth remains the most diamagnetic of all metals. Its electrical resistance is very high and it has the highest Hall effect of all the metals. The Hall effect meaning it has the highest increase in electrical resistance when in a magnetic field. Bismuth facts are as follows:
Bismuth was often Mistaken for Tin or Lead. In times gone by it was often mistaken for lead or tin and it was not until Claude Geoffroy the Younger proved its differences from lead in 1753 that the distinction became clear.


Bismuth is twice as Common in Nature Than is Gold. Bismuth is available commercially although it can be produced in a laboratory. However, when found in nature it is twice as common as gold and known as bismutite, bismuthinite or bismite. It is most commonly derived as a by- product of zinc, gold, silver, tin, lead and copper.


Bismuth Crystals can be Grown on a Household Stove. Bismuth can be grown on a household stove and when this is achieved it becomes a most beautiful metal crystal that is rainbow coloured. It also has an interesting geometric hopper form. The colours are produced by an oxide layer that forms rather quickly on its surface.


Bismuth is a Metal Chemically Resembling Antimony and Arsenic.
Bismuth is chemically regarded as being a pentavalent poor metal that resembles antimony and arsenic. Its free element is 86 percent as dense as is lead and it is brittle with a silvery white colour that soon takes on a pinkish hue due to surface oxidation. Elementary bismuth can occur naturally with its oxide and sulphide forming ores that are important commercially. It is a stable element with the highest atomic mass, although it is slightly radioactive. Bismuth -209 decays with a half life over one billion times the age of the universe.


Half of all Bismuth Production Goes into Making Cosmetics. Half of all bismuth production is put towards making bismuth compounds to be used in pharmaceuticals, pigments and cosmetics as, although being a heavy metal, has a very low toxicity. This low toxicity level has seen it becoming a lead replacement in recent years as a bismuth alloy.


China is the Worlds Leading Bismuth Producer. In 2010 the world produced 8,900 tonnes of bismuth with 6,500 tonnes coming from China. World refineries produced 16,000 tonnes of which China contributed 13,000 tonnes. The difference between the mining and refinery production reflects the amount of bismuth that is derived as a by-product coming from the mining of other metals such as tin, copper, tungsten, molybdenum and lead. Most lead bullion contains up to 10 percent bismuth and it takes several stages of refining before it is all removed.


China is the world's largest producer of bismuth as well as being the largest exporter. Peru has the largest resources, China the next largest followed by Canada. Most western countries rely on producing bismuth as a by-product from their lead and copper mines whereas in China it is mostly derived as a by-product from the mining of polymetallic ores, usually that of tungstenas well as that of zinc and tin. Although China does have one of the world's only dedicated bismuth mines. In the Asia-Pacific Bismuth is produced in Australia, Japan and South Korea.
 

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