Investing in Beryllium

Beryllium is mainly used as hardening agent in alloys such as beryllium copper. It has the highest melting point of the light metals and a modulus of elasticity 30% greater than steel. The speed of sound in beryllium is greater than in any other element (12,500 m/s). Aside from its many metal alloy uses, it exists in precious form, as aquamarine and emerald. Beryllium tools are used to tune klystrons in high power microwave devices. Many liquid-fueled rockets use pure beryllium nozzles. Beryllium is gray in color and one of the lightest metals. Its other physical and mechanical properties—outstanding stiffness-to-weight and strength-to-weight ratios, one of the highest melting points of all light metals, high specific heat, excellent thermal conductivity, outstanding dimensional stability over a wide range of temperatures, reflectivity, the lowest neutron absorption cross section of any metal and a high neutron-scattering cross section, and transparency to x-rays make it useful for many applications. Beryllium is used primarily as beryllium-copper alloys, beryllium oxide ceramics, and beryllium metal in a wide variety of products in aerospace, automotive (ignition components), computer (computer chip heat sinks), defense, electronics (highly conductive and strong wire), heavy machinery, home appliance (microwave guides), industrial component (bearings and bushings), instrumentation and control system, medical, nuclear, oil and gas drilling, plastic molding, telecommunications, undersea and marine, and other applications.

Domestic Production and Use: One company in Utah mined bertrandite ore, which it converted, along with imported beryl and beryl from the National Defense Stockpile, into beryllium hydroxide. Some of the beryllium hydroxide was shipped to the company’s plant in Ohio, where it was converted into beryllium-copper master alloy, metal, and/or oxide—some of which was sold. Estimated beryllium consumption of 320 tons was valued at about $160 million, based on the estimated unit value for beryllium in imported beryllium-copper master alloy. Based on sales revenues, more than one-half of beryllium use was estimated to be in computer and telecommunications products, and the remainder was used in aerospace and defense applications, appliances, automotive electronics, industrial components, medical devices, and other applications.

Recycling: Beryllium was recycled mostly from new scrap generated during the manufacture of beryllium products. Detailed data on the quantities of beryllium recycled are not available but may represent as much as 10% of apparent consumption.

Import Sources (2006–09):1 Kazakhstan, 57%; Kenya, 10%; Germany, 9%; Ireland, 8%; and other, 16%.

Government Stockpile: The Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, had a goal of retaining 45 tons of hot-pressed beryllium powder in the National Defense Stockpile. Disposal limits for beryllium materials in the fiscal year 2010 Annual Materials Plan are as follows: beryl ore, 1 ton, and beryllium metal, 54 tons of contained beryllium. The 2011 Annual Materials Plan’s publishing date was delayed by the Defense Logistics Agency.

Events, Trends, and Issues: Market conditions improved considerably for beryllium-based products in 2010. During the first half of 2010, the leading U.S. beryllium producer reported volume shipments of strip and bulk beryllium-copper alloy products to be 100% and 62% higher, respectively, than those during the first half of 2009. Sales of beryllium products for key markets, including aerospace, automotive electronics, ceramics, computer and telecommunications, medical and industrial x-ray equipment, and oil and gas, were substantially higher than those during the first half of 2009. Sales of beryllium products for defense-related applications were slightly higher in the first half of 2010 compared with those of the first half of 2009. The strong sales growth in 2010 was also due in part to higher beryllium prices and replenishment of supply chain inventories that were drawn down in 2009.

In an effort to ensure current and future availability of high-quality domestic beryllium to meet critical defense and commercial needs, the U.S. Department of Defense in 2005, under the Defense Production Act, Title III, invested in a public-private partnership with the leading U.S. beryllium producer to build a new $90.4 million primary beryllium facility in Ohio. Construction of the facility was completed in 2010. Approximately two-thirds of the facility’s output was to be allocated for defense and government-related end uses; the remaining output going to the private sector. Plant capacity was reported at 160,000 pounds per year of high-purity beryllium metal to meet Defense requirements. Primary beryllium facilities, the last of which closed in the United States in 2000, traditionally produced the feedstock used to make beryllium metal products.

Because of the toxic nature of beryllium, various international, national, and State guidelines and regulations have been established regarding beryllium in air, water, and other media. Industry is required to carefully control the quantity of beryllium dust, fumes, and mists in the workplace, which adds to the final cost of beryllium products.

World Resources: World resources in known deposits of beryllium have been estimated to be more than 80,000 tons. About 65% of these resources is in nonpegmatite deposits in the United States—the Gold Hill and Spor Mountain areas in Utah and the Seward Peninsula area in Alaska account for most of the total.

Substitutes: Because the cost of beryllium is high compared with that of other materials, it is used in applications in which its properties are crucial. In some applications, certain metal matrix or organic composites, high-strength grades of aluminum, pyrolytic graphite, silicon carbide, steel, or titanium may be substituted for beryllium metal or beryllium composites. Copper alloys containing nickel and silicon, tin, titanium, or other alloying elements or phosphor bronze alloys (copper-tin-phosphorus) may be substituted for beryllium-copper alloys, but these substitutions can result in substantially reduced performance. Aluminum nitride or boron nitride may be substituted for beryllium oxide in some applications.

Beryllium Producers
American Beryllia Inc. - beryllium oxide ceramic products
American Elements - - Beryllium metal, beryllium oxide, beryllium acetate, beryllium nitrate, and beryllium sulfate. They also make an alloy of beryllium and copper.
Applied Materials Science, Inc - Producer of beryllium alloy products in Concord, MA
BE Resources (CVE: BER) - Warm Springs project in New Mexico
Brush Wellman - Produces beryllium, beryllium oxide, beryllia ceramics, and beryllium alloys.
IBC Advanced Alloys (CVE: IB)
Jourdan Resources (CVE: JOR)
JSC Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP) - Part of Kazakhstan's National Atomic Company Kazatomprom
Materion (NYSE: MTRN) - Formerly Brush Engineered Material (NYSE: BW)
NGK Metals - beryllium copper alloys
Olin Corp (NYSE: OLN) - Their brass division produces beryllium alloys
Ucore Uranium (CVE: UCU)
Yingtan Ulba Shine Metal Materials Company - Joint venture between UMP and Ningbo Shengtai Electronic Metal Material Co.

10th International Workshop on Beryllium Technology -

Beryllium Market Review -

Beryllium mirrors -

(wiki) - Beryllium on Wikipedia

Beryllium News
2011-07-27 - (ehs) - Public Citizen: OSHA must take swift action on beryllium exposure limit
2011-07-05 - (dr) - Beryllium...still sexy
2011-07-05 - (bw) - World beryllium market driven by large-scale developing application industries
2011-06-29 - (mw) - IBC Advanced Alloys and Ulba sign memorandum of understanding
2011-06-28 - (gsn) - Livermore not doing enough on beryllium safety, report says
2011-06-27 - (iba) - Federal report: Livermore Lab beryllium protection incomplete
2011-06-23 - (bw) - Acceptance of beryllium by EU RoHS can boost innovation in electronic products
2011-06-07 - (dr) - Beryllium...Even sexier than it sounds
2011-05-19 - (ump) - Beryllium production branch of Ulba Metallurgical Plant JSC (UMP) celebrates 60th anniversary
2011-05-17 - (ibc) - IBC Advanced Alloys opens new engineered materials manufacturing facility
2011-05-05 - (mw) - Seymour Ventures subsidiary Rare Earth Industries acquires past-producing tantalum-beryllium mine
2011-05-03 - (mw) - IBC provides update on Utah exploration and announces summer drill program
2011-05-02 - (pi) - IBC Advanced alloys announces extension for IEA beryllium workshop submissions
2011-04-28 - (bw) - Materion Corporation reports record sales and stronger than expected first quarter earnings
2011-04-25 - (kid) - Beryllium: A critical metal for the new millennium
2011-04-20 - (mw) - You may never heard of this metal – but it could make you a fortune
2011-04-12 - (pi) - IBC signs agreements for next phase of beryllium-enhanced nuclear fuels research
2011-03-29 - (mw) - BE Resources says finds rare earths as well as beryllium at US project
2011-03-28 - (ngk) - Position of beryllium under the REACH Regulation
2011-03-14 - (mw) - IBC Advanced Alloys hosts 2011 IEA International Workshop on Beryllium Technology for nuclear power industry in Vancouver
2011-03-04 - (pi) - Beryllium: enjoying a renaissance
2011-02-23 - (pi) - IBC Advanced Alloys detects significant target zones on Juab County claims
2011-02-17 - (pr) - IBC Advanced Alloys signs agreement with GNF America to advance beryllium oxide nuclear fuel research
2011-02-03 - (mw) - IBC Advanced Alloys completes initial beryllium oxide nuclear fuel research
2011-02-03 - (pi) - IBC Advanced Alloys successfully completes initial test for enhanced nuclear fuel
2011-02-01 - (ump) - JSC "UMP" raises prices from the 30th of June 2011
2010-11-30 - (smr) - Stans Energy announces initiation of JORC resource estimate for Kalesay Beryllium Deposit
2010-11-30 - (pi) - IBC Advanced Alloys' first quarter revenues jump 119% as beryllium alloys demand climbs
2010-11-01 - (fc) - How a handful of countries control the Earth's most precious materials
2010-10-22 - (mw) - First Gold intersects 2.15% Li2O, 1,594 g/t rubidium, 150 ppm Ta2O5, 147 ppm beryllium, 75 ppm gallium over 12.60 metres on Rose
2010-10-18 - (pi) - IBC Advanced Alloys: high tech rare earth minerals play
2010-10-06 - (ump) - Beryllium for Kazakhstan's reactor
2010-09-29 - (pi) - IBC Advanced Alloys files patent for beryllium-containing nuclear fuel
2010-03-31 - (prw) - IBC acquires Beralcast Corporation
2010-02-01 - (pr) - Beryllium - A global market perspective
2009-05-05 - (pi) - IBC Advanced Alloys and Kazatomprom sign MOU to jointly exploit beryllium market
2008-12-01 - (sa) - Beryllium: bombs and more (much more)
2008-11-25 - (sa) - Denis Brady on beryllium: the new kid on the nuclear block?
2008-11-07 - (ump) - Road to the East
2007-12-09 - (ump) - Selling aluminium-beryllium master alloys in China and South-East Asia
2007-07-25 - (ump) - Ulba Metallurgical Plant JSC rises prices

Learn more:

Back to Element Investing