New uses for old bunkers #6: re-burying rare industrial metals inside Swiss mountains

Now here’s a weird conjunction of themes that I wasn’t expecting to stumbled upon: an excuse to combine metal theft and the evolving life of bunkers in one place…

Yesterday I took a break from tracing the afterlife of defensive shelters, and blogged about metal theft and the world price of copper. Today I stumble upon the following – companies offering underground and other bunker-like storage facilities to enable investors to securely hoard stocks of ‘rare earths and precious industrial metals’, including vaults deep inside the Swiss Alps:



The video speaks for itself really, but just to underpin the point, here’s a quote from another metal broker/storage company (this one’s Panamanian registered but also provides its storage in secure Swiss compunds):

“Physical ownership of rare strategic metals like Tellurium, Hafnium, Tantalum, Indium and the precious industrial metal Silver, is one of the best ways to preserve your wealth during the current economic crisis. Together with one of the largest metal traders in the world, Haines & Massen (since 1948) we have selected specific rare technical metals used in 80% of industry, including production of the new CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Diselenide) PV thin-film solar cells. These rare industrial metals are steadily increasing in value because of an extreme supply and demand situation created by China’s monopoly of rare earth and technical metals. You will benefit from the rapid growth of the world’s developing economies that are consuming massive amounts of these rare earth, technical metals, and driving up their value. Developed industrial powerhouses like the USA, Japan, Germany, and Korea etc., are also in need of ever-increasing amounts of technical metals. Chinese rare industrial metal exports are not meeting current global demand. New mining operations around the world are rushing to try and contribute to the global supply of rare industrial, technical metals. If and when these startups ever do come on line, they will not be able to meet an exponentially growing demand. This supply and demand scenario will only insure that the metals will increase in value each year and further enhance the value of your SMA metal assets. Swiss Metal Assets S.A. (SMA) and Schweizerische Metallhandels A.G. have been helping Europeans and Americans protect their wealth in Switzerland since 2005. Your allocated metals will be stored in a high security vault system within the Duty Free zone outside of Zurich, established in 1923. This is your opportunity to counteract the negative effects of inflation and devaluation on paper currency by buying Rare Earth Metals.” (from

In case you’re wondering – no, I’m not working on a commission or offering investment advice…

I’m just struck by the irony of going to great lengths to extract metals from deep underground and then paying to securely burying them back in the depths of the Earth.


About lukebennett13
Reader & Course Leader, BSc Hons Real Estate, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. I TEACH: built environment law to construction, surveying, real estate and environmental management students. I RESEARCH: metal theft; urban exploration & recreational trespass; occupiers' perceptions of liability for their premises. I THINK: about the links between ideas, materialities and practices in the built environment. I WAS: an environmental lawyer working in commercial practice for 17 years before I joined academia in 2007. I EXPLAIN: the aims of my blogsite site here: LINKS: Twitter: @lukebennett13; Archive: EPITAPH: “He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances.” James Joyce, Dubliners

One Response to New uses for old bunkers #6: re-burying rare industrial metals inside Swiss mountains

  1. Rare earth elements became known to the world with the discovery of the black mineral “ytterbite” by Lieutenant Carl Axel Arrhenius in 1787, at a quarry in the village of Ytterby, Sweden. The rare earth metals are rarely found so that their prices are increased day by day.

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