Classified as Critical and One of Earth’s Rarest Elements
Tellurium is classified as a “critical” or “green minor” metal1. It represents one of earth’s
rarest elements and, along with silver, is a key constituent in the manufacture of
solar panels. Tellurium is also essential for production of optical discs (such as CD-RW and Blu-ray) and the performance of next-generation
lithium-tellurium batteries and a wide range of advanced electronics products including phase change memory chips.
Rarer than gold and produced generally as a by-product of copper refining, tellurium’s
increasing demand worldwide means that new sources must be developed.
Solar panel manufacturers and other users are now seeking primary
sources of tellurium not reliant on copper refining. Ideal sources
are those in mining-friendly and stable jurisdictions and where
tellurium is abundant along with precious metals that can supply
silver and also offset production costs.
The Deer Horn Property has been recognized by First Solar Inc. as one of the world’s top four primary tellurium properties. First Solar is one of the world’s leading solar panel manufacturers.
1 The classification of “critical” or “green minor” metals is given
to a group of metals considered essential to the development of
future sustainable technologies such as renewable energy and energy
efficient technologies. Such metals include tellurium (Te), indium
(In), germanium (Ge), tantalum (Ta), PGM [platinum group metals, such
as ruthenium (Ru), platinum (Pt) and palladium (Pd)], cobalt (Co),
lithium (Li), gallium (Ga) and RE (rare earths).
While not considered a critical metal as such, silver is a primary and critical element for the
manufacture of solar photovoltaic cells. According to the
2018 World Silver Survey, more than 94 million ounces of
silver were use in the manufacture of solar panels worldwide in 2017.
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