Explore what kind of raw materials are mined in different European countries

(metals and industrial minerals)


When it occurs in its elemental form in nature, bismuth is a white, brittle metal, but oxidation can give it a pink tint. However, most of the time bismuth is found in minerals such as bismuthinite and bismite. There are natural bismuth deposits, the largest of which are in Bolivia, but the metal is more often produced as a by-product of mining and processing lead and tungsten.

Bismuth has several characteristics that make it unique. It is repelled by a magnetic field, expands when frozen, has a low melting point and has one of the lowest levels of thermal conductivity. For a heavy metal, its toxicity is unusually low. Now that we are aware of the dangers of lead, bismuth alloys are often used as a replacement.

Bismuth in daily life

Bismuth is non-toxic and considered to be an eco-friendly material. This makes it ideal for uses in pharmaceuticals and medicine, the animal-feed industry and cosmetics. It is most recognizable in the form of Pepto-Bismol and De-Nol, but it has also been used in anticancer, antitumor and antimicrobial studies.

Bismuth is also extremely useful in a number of industrial applications such as coatings, pigments, and electronics. When added to other metals such as lead, iron, tin or cadmium, it forms low-melting alloys that are used in fire sprinkler and detection systems, electrical fuses and solders.