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U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 02-238
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Version 1.0

Mineral Commodity Profiles: Cadmium

By W.C. Butterman and Jozef Plachy


Cadmium is a soft, low-melting-point metal that has many uses. It is similar in abundance to antimony and bismuth and is the 63d element in order of crustal abundance. Cadmium is associated in nature with zinc (and, less closely, with lead and copper) and is extracted mainly as a byproduct of the mining and processing of zinc. In 2000, it was refined in 27 countries, of which the 8 largest accounted for two-thirds of world production. The United States was the third largest refiner after Japan and China. World production in 2000 was 19,700 metric tons (t) and U.S. production was 1,890 t. In the United States, one company in Illinois and another in Tennessee refined primary cadmium. A Pennsylvania company recovered cadmium from scrap, mainly spent nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries. The supply of cadmium in the world and in the United States appears to be adequate to meet future industrial needs; the United States has about 23 percent of the world reserve base.

Open-File Report 02-238 [455-KB PDF file]

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This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey editorial standards (or with the Northern American Stratigraphic Code). Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Contact Information

For questions about the scientific content of this report, contact Jozef Plachy.

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