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Mineral Monday: Aluminium

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As the third most abundant element, and the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust Aluminium is under the spotlight in today’s Mineral Monday.

Utilised for everything from the most high-tech ground-breaking pieces of technology such as spacecraft through to mundane everyday items such as cans and cooking utensils.

The reasons for Aluminium’s prodigious use include the fact that it is non-ferrous, lightweight and one of the most highly produced metals in the world (second only to iron).

Where is it produced / mined?

First produced in 1825 in an impure form by Danish chemist Hans Christian Orsted, the first form of Aluminium as we know it today was produced by Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville in 1846.

The People’s Republic of China is currently the top producer of Aluminium producing almost one-fifth of the world share, followed by Russia, Canada and the US.

Did you know?

• With less than 150 years in usage, aluminium is one of the youngest commercial metals (compared with 9,000 years that copper has been around).
• Aluminium was so difficult to produce during the nineteenth century that it was classed as a precious metal. Such was its value that Napoleon III of France is reputed to have held a banquet where the most honoured guests were given aluminium utensils, whilst all of the other guests had to ‘make do’ with gold utensils!
• You may have Aluminium in your pocket right now! A number of countries have issued coins struck in Aluminium including France, Italy, Poland, Finland, Romania, and Israel.
• Every hipster’s favourite laptop- the Macbook Pro- has an Aluminium casing.
• Aluminium is theoretically 100% recyclable without any loss of its natural qualities.
• Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours.
• Approximately 350,000 aluminium cans are produced in the world every single minute.
• Two-thirds of the aluminium ever produced is still in use today.

So here’s to Aluminium! That versatile, lightweight, young metal that’s found tens of thousands of uses since its discovery.

If you think a certain mineral deserves a Fircroft ‘Mineral Monday’ of its own- let us know in the comments below!

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