Where is Ruthenium Found? Top 3 Global Ruthenium Producers

Share your love! 🚀

Let’s Dive into the lesser-known world of metals; Where is Ruthenium found? A pivotal player in modern industries, awaits its spotlight. Here’s your guide to understanding and knowing where exactly this underappreciated star in the metallurgy world can be found…

Global Reserves: Where is Ruthenium Found?

Join us on this global tour as we pinpoint the ruthenium hotspots. It’s important to note that these are global reserves, not mining hotspots.

While the majority of the world’s Ruthenium reserves are in South Africa the total contribution of the world’s Ruthenium supply by country may vary. 

Please take a look at our comparison table to know more about Ruthenium supply by country.

Where are Most Ruthenium Reserves?

The spotlight, when it comes to ruthenium reserves, shines brightest on South Africa, followed closely by Russia. However, North America, especially Canada, holds its own significant stash.

Major Ruthenium Reserves by Country:

  • South Africa: Dominating the global reserves
  • Russia: The Ural Mountains, in particular
  • North America: Canada is the key player

Most Important Ruthenium Mines around the World

Here are some of the most significant mines where PGMs (and thus ruthenium) are extracted:

  • Norilsk-Talnakh Mines, Russia: Located in Siberia, the Norilsk-Talnakh deposits operated by Norilsk Nickel are among the world’s largest PGM producers. Ruthenium, alongside other platinum group metals, is extracted here.
  • Bushveld Complex, South Africa: This massive geological structure in South Africa contains some of the world’s richest ore deposits for PGMs.
    • Western Bushveld: Mines like the Marikana mine (operated by Sibanye-Stillwater) and the Thembelani mine are significant PGM producers.
    • Eastern Bushveld: The Mogalakwena mine, operated by Anglo American Platinum, is one of the major PGM-producing mines in this region.
  • Great Dyke, Zimbabwe: This geological feature in Zimbabwe is another significant source of PGMs. The Zimplats operations, which include the Ngezi mine and the Mimosa mine (a joint venture between Impala Platinum and Sibanye-Stillwater), are major contributors.
  • Stillwater Complex, USA: Located in Montana, the Stillwater Mining Complex is a significant producer of palladium and platinum, and by association, smaller amounts of other PGMs, including ruthenium.
  • Lac des Iles Mine, Canada: Located in Ontario, this mine primarily produces palladium, but also contains other PGMs.

Remember, while these mines produce significant quantities of PGMs, the exact quantity of ruthenium they produce would be proportionally smaller, as ruthenium is one of the less common elements among the PGMs. For precise figures and more detailed information about ruthenium extraction in particular, industry reports and company disclosures would be the most accurate sources.

Where Is Ruthenium Found in Europe?

Europe, where tales of medieval castles intertwine with cutting-edge research, presents its distinctive storyline in the grand saga of ruthenium.

  • Ural Mountains in Russia:
    These ancient mountain ranges stand as a testament to geological wonders and the passage of time.
    • Ruthenium’s Birthplace: The Urals aren’t just a geographical landmark; they’re where ruthenium’s story began, leading to its name derived from “Ruthenia.”
    • Mining and Reserves: With a history rich in mining, the Ural Mountains continue to be significant for ruthenium extraction and reserves.
    • Technological Advancements: Russia doesn’t merely extract ruthenium; it pioneers innovations, tapping into the metal’s potential for myriad applications.
  • Other European Nations:
    While Russia is a primary player, other European nations, with their varied geologies, add to the continent’s ruthenium narrative.
    • Research and Development: Countries like Germany and France, while not major extractors, lead in research, exploring ruthenium’s potential in fields from electronics to medicine.
    • Economic Contributions: Even without vast reserves, the European approach to ruthenium emphasizes value addition, transforming the raw metal into high-tech applications and products.

Where Is Ruthenium Found in North America?

North America, a land of innovation, diverse ecosystems, and historical richness, holds its unique position in the intricate tapestry of ruthenium’s global story.


The Great White North, famed for its natural beauty and pioneering spirit, also has a significant stake in the ruthenium narrative.

  • Sudbury Basin, Ontario: This ancient meteorite impact site is not just a geologist’s dream. With its rich deposits of various metals, ruthenium finds a cozy spot amidst them.
  • Economic Influence: While Canada’s economic giants are oil, timber, and gold, the extraction of ruthenium and other platinum group metals plays a key role in its trade ties and local employment.
  • Innovative Applications: Leveraging its position as a hub for scientific research, Canada is at the forefront of exploring ruthenium’s potential in next-gen technologies.

United States:

A global leader in myriad domains, the U.S. contributes to the ruthenium saga in its unique way.

  • Alaska & Montana: These states, with their varied terrains, have shown potential for ruthenium reserves, though extensive mining operations aren’t in play yet.
  • Research and Development: Home to some of the world’s leading research institutions, the U.S. delves deep into ruthenium’s properties, driving advancements in sectors like electronics and catalysis.
  • Environmental Considerations: Emphasizing sustainable mining practices, the U.S. is keen on ensuring ruthenium extraction has minimal environmental impact.

Where Is Ruthenium Found in Oceania?

Oceania, encompassing the vast Pacific islands and the formidable terrains of Australia, weaves its tales around the seas, skies, and soils, with ruthenium playing its part.


Known for its unique biodiversity and iconic landmarks, Australia also sits on a wealth of mineral resources.

  • Western Australia: Some geological surveys suggest the presence of platinum group metals, including traces of ruthenium, in this vast region.
  • Mining Expertise: Australia’s rich mining history and expertise position it well to explore and possibly expand into ruthenium extraction in the future.
  • Sustainability Focus: With a strong emphasis on eco-friendly practices, Australia’s approach to any potential ruthenium mining would likely prioritize environmental sustainability.

New Zealand

This island nation, celebrated for its landscapes and Maori heritage, has geological underpinnings that suggest potential mineral wealth.

  • Geothermal Areas: Some of New Zealand’s geothermal regions hint at the presence of valuable minerals, possibly including ruthenium.
  • Research Initiatives: While not a major player in ruthenium extraction, New Zealand’s institutions could delve into research on its applications, given the country’s focus on innovative solutions.

Where Is Ruthenium Found in Asia?

Asia, with its intricate tapestry of traditions, terrains, and technologies, offers a dynamic backdrop for the story of ruthenium.

Russia (Asian part)

The vast landscapes of Siberia and the Far East, replete with dense forests and winding rivers, hide mineral secrets deep within.

  • Mining Hubs: Eastern Russia, with its cold climes and rugged terrains, has regions rich in platinum group metals, which naturally brings ruthenium into the picture.
  • Economic Drive: Ruthenium extraction and trade bolster the local economies, linking remote areas with global markets.
  • Innovation and Research: Beyond just extraction, Russia’s eastern regions are increasingly focusing on the transformative potential of ruthenium in various sectors.

Central Asian Nations

These nations, with their unique cultures and histories, also have chapters to contribute to the ruthenium anthology.

  • Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan: Though not leaders in ruthenium extraction, their mineral-rich landscapes suggest potential reserves of platinum group metals, which may pave the way for future explorations.
  • Strategic Position: Positioned between major global players, these nations can act as strategic points for ruthenium trade and collaborations.

Where Is Ruthenium Found in South America?

South America, with its tapestry of lush rainforests, towering mountains, and ancient civilizations, also holds compelling narratives about ruthenium, each country adding its unique chapter.


Beyond its world-renowned coffee and vibrant festivals, Colombia has hidden mineral treasures deep within its terrain.

  • Chocó Department: This region, known for its lush greenery and biodiversity, is also rich in platinum group metals, with ruthenium quietly marking its presence.
  • Historical Connection: It’s intriguing to think that indigenous communities might have once roamed lands rich in ruthenium, unaware of the metal’s future significance.
  • Mining Activities: As Colombia embraces modernity, its mining sectors evolve, contributing not just to local economies but also to the global ruthenium supply chain.


The rhythms of samba, the allure of the Amazon, and the spirit of carnival define Brazil. But beneath its vibrant surface lies a world of minerals and metals.

  • Geological Wealth: Brazil’s diverse landscapes are mirrored in its vast mineral deposits, offering a range of metals, including traces of ruthenium.
  • Mining Hubs: While the entire country boasts mineral wealth, specific regions, owing to their geological compositions, become focal points for ruthenium exploration.
  • Economic Impact: Ruthenium mining, though not Brazil’s flagship, still plays a role in its complex economic machinery, providing jobs and fostering research.

Comparing the Top Ruthenium Producing Countries

While ruthenium might not be a household name, its significance in the world of metals is undeniable. The question that naturally arises is – who are the key players in ruthenium production on the global stage? Our exploration takes us to a few countries that stand out prominently in this realm.

Below is a comparison table that offers a snapshot of the top ruthenium-producing countries, based on estimated data from 2021:

CountryEstimated Ruthenium Production (kg)% of Global Total
South Africa25,000 kg65%
Russia10,000 kg26%
Zimbabwe2,500 kg6%
Others1,000 kg3%
  • South Africa: Topping the list, South Africa emerges as the titan in ruthenium production. With an estimated 65% of the global production, the nation’s rich mineral deposits, especially in the Bushveld Complex, play a pivotal role in ensuring a steady supply of this precious metal.
  • Russia: Russia, with its vast landscapes and extensive mineral reserves, especially in the Ural Mountains, contributes significantly to the global ruthenium supply, accounting for roughly a quarter of the total.
  • Zimbabwe: This Southern African nation, while not as dominant as its aforementioned counterparts, still plays a noteworthy role. Its unique geological formations, particularly the Great Dyke region, are believed to harbor significant reserves of platinum group metals, including ruthenium.
  • Others: The global stage of ruthenium production sees contributions from various other countries as well, although in smaller proportions. These nations collectively contribute to the remaining 3% of the global ruthenium production.

This table underscores the concentrated nature of ruthenium production, with a few countries shouldering a major chunk of the global supply. 

As industries continue to discover new applications for ruthenium, it will be interesting to see how these dynamics evolve in the future. 

Whether new players will emerge or existing leaders will further consolidate their positions remains a captivating aspect of the ruthenium narrative.

With this perspective, readers get not only a statistical overview but also a contextual understanding of the global ruthenium production landscape.

Top Ruthenium Producing Mining Companies

Diving deeper into the realm of ruthenium extraction, some key players emerge as the backbone of the global ruthenium supply. These corporations aren’t just mining giants; they are innovators, environmental stewards, and major employers.

Norilsk Nickel:

Hailing from Russia, Norilsk Nickel stands as one of the most significant producers of platinum group metals, including ruthenium.

  • Global Reach: Beyond Russia, they have operations in Finland, Australia, and South Africa, reflecting their global influence.
  • Innovation at Core: Embracing cutting-edge technologies, they continuously refine their extraction methods to be more efficient and sustainable.

Anglo American Platinum:

Based in South Africa, this company is a titan in the world of platinum group metals.

  • Holistic Approach: Beyond mining, they are involved in smelting, refining, and even marketing the metals, offering a comprehensive approach to the ruthenium supply chain.
  • Sustainability Drive: With a strong emphasis on eco-conscious practices, they prioritize minimal environmental impact and community upliftment.

Impala Platinum

Another jewel from South Africa, Impala Platinum has carved its niche in the world of ruthenium and other platinum group metals.

  • Diverse Operations: Their mining endeavors span South Africa and Zimbabwe, reflecting a broad operational base.
  • Future Focus: Embracing the future, they are invested in research and development, aiming to harness ruthenium’s potential in emerging technologies.

Comparison of Top Ruthenium Producing Companies

CompanyRevenue (USD)Net Profit (USD)Total Assets (USD)Market Capitalization
Norilsk Nickel$15.5 billion$3.9 billion$23 billion$42 billion
Anglo American Platinum$14.8 billion$3.5 billion$20 billion$38 billion
Impala Platinum$6.9 billion$1.6 billion$9 billion$15 bill

While these numbers give a snapshot of the companies’ financial health, they are by no means exhaustive. For a more detailed analysis, especially if it’s for investment purposes, I’d recommend diving deeper into each company’s annual reports or consulting financial databases for the most recent figures.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ruthenium

How is Ruthenium Extracted?

The process of ruthenium extraction is akin to a sophisticated dance of science and engineering. Initially found within ores mixed with other metals, ruthenium undergoes a series of separation processes. Techniques such as flotation and smelting are employed to separate the metals. Post separation, ruthenium is further refined through chemical processes to achieve its purest form, ready for various applications.

What is the Current Price of Ruthenium?

Ruthenium, like other commodities, experiences fluctuations in its pricing based on demand, supply, and global economic factors. As of my last update in January 2022, ruthenium was priced at around $500 per ounce. However, for real-time and updated prices, checking dedicated metal commodity websites or financial platforms would be the most accurate approach.

Are There Any Environmental Concerns Related to Ruthenium Mining?

Yes, as with most mining activities, extracting ruthenium does pose potential environmental concerns. These can range from habitat disruption to water pollution. However, modern mining companies are increasingly adopting sustainable practices to minimize their ecological footprint. Reclamation of mining sites, water treatment processes, and community engagement are some measures in place.

Is Ruthenium Used in the Jewelry Industry?

Absolutely! Ruthenium, with its lustrous silvery appearance and resistance to tarnish, is sometimes used in the jewelry industry. It’s often alloyed with other metals to enhance their properties or used as a plating material to give a unique finish to jewelry pieces.

What is Ruthenium?

In the vast universe of the periodic table, ruthenium stands proud among the platinum group metals. It may not be as famed as gold or silver, but its importance in the realm of electronics and chemical applications is undeniable.

Ruthenium Characteristics:

  • Silvery-white appearance
  • High melting point
  • Corrosion-resistant

Did you know? Ruthenium, with its prowess in electronics, often finds its way into computer hard drives, ensuring your data remains intact.

A fun tidbit: Its name, derived from “Ruthenia” (Latin for Russia), pays homage to its discovery in Russia’s Ural Mountains.

H2: Can Ruthenium be Found in Nature?
Ruthenium is a rare guest in nature. While it doesn’t flaunt itself openly, it’s typically mingled with other platinum metals, especially in areas like the Ural Mountains and the Americas.

Natural Occurrence:

  • Often part of mineral conglomerates
  • Found in minerals like Pyroxenite

Despite its elusive nature, its unique properties make it a treasure in industries like electronics and catalysis.

H2: How is Ruthenium Extracted?
The extraction of ruthenium is no less than an elaborate treasure hunt. From mining to refining, every step is crucial.

  1. Mining: Ruthenium, intertwined with other metals, is mined from ore.
  2. Separation: Processes like flotation and smelting help separate ruthenium from its companion metals.
  3. Refining: Chemical reactions further purify ruthenium, prepping it for industrial use.

From embedded ore to a shining standalone, ruthenium’s journey is both science and art.

Bottom Line

In our journey through the riveting world of ruthenium, we’ve traversed across continents, dived deep into mines, and explored the intricacies of its applications in modern technology. This unsung hero of the metal world, though lesser-known in popular parlance, plays an indispensable role in sectors ranging from electronics to jewelry.

Here’s to unearthing more stories, understanding the nuances of our world, and appreciating the metals that make modern life possible. Until our next exploration, keep the flame of curiosity burning bright!

Share your love! 🚀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *