Meteorites seized in Chinese crackdown on fake metals

Using the heat and cold means the strange looking minerals, which have shown up in sinks and floors of Chinese homes, are identical to the normal mineral found in the ground

Meteorites have been seized by Chinese customs officials as part of a crackdown on the use of fake metallic metals in products.

Chinese customs officers have arrested thousands of people in recent years in an effort to clean up the booming industry in “metallopatters” in eastern Shandong province.

The practice is illegal because it amounts to smuggling of genuine metals such as platinum. Using the heat and cold of mining processes to forge mineral compositions, counterfeiters can produce metallopatters, known locally as “metallic gold”, that rival more expensive forms of ore in quality and clarity.

At the end of 2018, inspection teams in the province seized almost 10,000 kilograms of metallopatters, almost double the amount seized in 2017, Xinhua news agency reported.

Used mostly in jewellery and the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, the seized minerals bear the markings of reputable companies, although the true content has not been revealed, Xinhua said.

Labourers dust off iron to grind up and assemble iron ore and gravel into stamping bars to produce the suspected magneto-aluminium alloy metal – sayctors Muqtada and Raed Mustafa’s company, Fishing Image Photograph: IMDb

One official in Dongzhou customs station in Shandong province said recent discoveries of different radioactive isotopes and the presence of elements such as zirconium and nacre not commonly found in natural soil was worrying the authorities.

According to Xinhua, China ranks fourth globally in exports of fake metals. Foreign companies send the fake products made in China to neighbouring countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia for re-export.

Such products are widely available online, with many retailers selling items like laboratory laboratory equipment, spacecraft parts and clocks in digital, silver and copper and brass.

Police are currently monitoring what passes through the clandestine exporting businesses in Shandong, Xinhua said.

Metallopatters such as 99C are used in metal alloys to make products more powerful and lightweight, more corrosion resistant and reusable, according to experts. Users usually mould metal into unique shapes using tools such as blowtorches, metal moulding machines, cutting machines and milling machines.

Nacre and quartz are made by melting metals until they produce pyrite. The metal is then smelted and melted further until a form resembling marble is formed. Various types of metallic gold can be produced. A building’s floors, sinks and heating appliances are, in some cases, made of metallic bronze. The minerals also mix well with other metals, so they can be sold separately to end users as metallophones, used in television displays, as well as for use in electric devices.

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