The global precious metals market is estimated to witness a substantial growth in coming years owing to investment paradigm and changing lifestyle of consumers. Precious metals are rare in nature and have significant economic value. Mining and refining processes of these metals are costly and complex. They possess unique characteristics, such as high conductivity, corrosion resistance, and catalytic capabilities, which make them suitable for various industrial applications. Metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are also used for investment purposes.
Stable Indian bullion market and stronger global growth are expected to drive demand for gold jewelry in coming years. In addition, increasing industrial demand for sliver especially from solar energy is expected to boost the market growth. Palladium is widely used for industrial purposes and its demand is directly proportional to growth of automobiles and electronics. Shift towards gasoline engine owing to strict emission policy has led to an increase in demand for palladium.
Recycling of precious metals is expected to present growth opportunities for the market in coming years. Many organizations are investing in testing and analysis of such metals through chemical and analytical laboratories. Recycled metals are used for home-used engines, waste gas treatment of vehicles, and manufacturing of heart pacemaker and artificial cochlea.
Environmental impact of mining has remained one of the key challenges in the industry. Exploitation of metals is having a negative impact on soil, water, and atmosphere. Toxicological issues are making a significant impact on human health and surrounding ecosystems. However, regulations, such as The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), The Clean Water Act (CWA), and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) are focusing on minimizing the impact.
Based on type, the industry can be segmented as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, ruthenium, ruthenium, and rhodium. Gold and silver are leading the market as they are widely used for jewelry owing to their aesthetics. More than 80% of silver comes from mining while remaining is obtained from recycling. Rising exports of silver to countries, such as China and India for industrial applications and investment is driving the precious metals market.
Jewelry, industrial, and electronics are the key applications in the market. Increasing demand for palladium in catalytic converter, growing applications of gold and silver for investment purposes, and rising consumer preference for long-term investments in coins and bars are likely to have a positive impact on the market growth. Other industrial applications of precious metals include solar and nuclear energy, photography, cutlery, antibiotics, computer parts, oil refining, space travel vehicles, bushings, and decorative.
The market can be classified on the basis of geography as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central and South America, and Middle East and Africa. Asia Pacific has emerged as one of the largest consumers of gold and silver. The region is likely to lead the market in future owing to growing demand for the product from India and China, robust growth of various industries, and changing consumer lifestyle. Countries, such as India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia contribute to more than 50% of global sales of gold.
Key market players operating in the precious metals market include Barrick Gold; Freeport-McMoRan; First Quantum Minerals; Goldcorp Inc.; Gold Fields Limited; Lundin Mining Corporation; Gabriel Resources Limited; Glencore plc; North American Palladium Ltd; Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited; Fresnillo plc; Pan American Silver Corporation; First Majestic Silver Corp.; Nornickel; Anglo American Platinum Limited; and Impala Platinum Holdings Limited.
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