Friday, November 11, 2011

Aurum Paradoxium

The principal source of tellurium is from anode sludges produced during the electrolytic refining of blister copper. It is a component of dusts from blast furnace refining of lead. Treatment of 500 tons of copper ore typically yields one pound (0.45 kg) of tellurium.

Tellurium is used in cadmium telluride solar panels...lab tests using this material achieved some of the highest efficiencies for solar cell electric power generation. Massive commercial production of CdTe solar panels by First Solar in recent years has significantly increased tellurium demand...If some of the cadmium in CdTe is replaced by zinc then (Cd,Zn)Te is formed which is used in solid-state X-ray detectors.


Tellurium was discovered in a certain gold ore from Transsylvania. This ore, known as "Faczebajer weißes blättriges Golderz" (white leafy gold ore from Faczebaja) or "antimonalischer Goldkies" (antimonic gold pyrite), was according to professor Anton von Rupprecht "Spießglaskönig" (argent molybdique), containing native Antimony (note). The same ore was analyzed by by Franz Joseph Müller Freiherr von Reichenstein (1742-1825) (note), chief inspector of mines in Transsylvania, he concluded in 1782 that the ore did not contain Antimony, but that it was Bismuth sulphide (note).

A year later he reported that this was erroneous and that the ore contained mainly gold and an unknown metal very similar to Antimony (note). However, Müller was not able to identify this metal. He gave it the name aurum paradoxium or metallum problematicum because it did not show the properties predicted for the Antimony he was expecting.


The yearend price for tellurium in 2000 was $14 per pound.


Tellurium has the same abundance as platinum and is $400 a kilo.


  1. this clocking here is scha-weet!!!! thanks!

  2. Funny you say that, I've been on auto-posts for three weeks due to the job shift--this one's been in the hopper for two months!

    But synchronicity is as it does.

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