Statistics and Information
Cadmium, a soft, malleable, ductile, bluish-white metal, was discovered in Germany in 1817 and for 100 years Germany remained the only important producer. Greenockite (CdS), the only cadmium mineral of importance, is nearly always associated with sphalerite (ZnS). Consequently, cadmium is produced mainly as a byproduct from mining, smelting, and refining sulfide ores of zinc, and to a lesser degree, lead and copper. Small amounts of cadmium, about 10% of consumption, are produced from secondary sources, mainly from dust generated by recycling of iron and steel scrap. Production in the United States began in 1907 but it was not until after World War I that cadmium came into wide use. About three-fourths of cadmium is used in batteries; the remaining one-fourth is used for pigments, coatings and plating, and as stabilizers for plastics. The United States produces about 1,100 tons of cadmium and consumes about 1,300 tons.