Platinum in Earth surface environments

Frank Reith, S Campbell, A Ball, Allan Pring, G Southam

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    48 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Platinum (Pt) is a rare precious metal that is a strategic commodity for industries in many countries. The demand for Pt has more than doubled in the last 30years due to its role in the catalytic conversion of CO, hydrocarbons and NOx in modern automobiles. To explore for new Pt deposits, process ores and deal with ecotoxicological effects of Pt mining and usage, the fundamental processes and pathways of Pt dispersion and re-concentration in surface environments need to be understood. Hence, the aim of this review is to develop a synergistic model for the cycling of Pt in Earth surface environments. This is achieved by integrating the geological/(biogeo)chemical literature, which focuses on naturally occurring Pt mobility around ore deposits, with the environmental/ecotoxicological literature dealing with anthropogenic Pt dispersion. In Pt deposits, Pt occurs as sulfide-, telluride- and arsenide, native metal and alloyed to other PGEs and iron (Fe). Increased mining and utilization of Pt combined with the burning of fossil fuels have led to the dispersion of Pt-containing nano- and micro-particles. Hence, soils and sediments in industrialized areas, urban environments and along major roads are now commonly Pt enriched. Platinum minerals, nuggets and anthropogenic particles are transformed by physical and (bio)geochemical processes. Complexation of Pt ions with chloride, thiosulfate, ammonium, cyanide, low- and high molecular weight organic acids (LMWOAs and HMWOAs) and siderophores can facilitate Pt mobilization. Iron-oxides, clays, organic matter and (micro)biota are known to sequester Pt-complexes and -particles. Microbes and plants are capable of bioaccumulating and reductively precipitating mobile Pt complexes. Bioaccumulation can lead to toxic effects on plants and animals, including humans. (Bio)mineralization in organic matter-rich sediments can lead to the formation of secondary Pt particles and -grains. Ultimately, Pt is enriched in oceanic sediments, where Pt is commonly concentrated in manganese (Mn) oxides. When these sediments are subducted, Pt re-enters the magmatic cycle. In conclusion, this review demonstrates that geological, geochemical as well as biological and most recently anthropological processes are strongly interlinked in driving the cycling of Pt in surface environments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    Number of pages21
    JournalEARTH-SCIENCE REVIEWS
    Volume131
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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