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The symbol for the element tellurium.
The symbol for tellurium.
((Te), semimetallic chemical element in the oxygen family (Group VIa of the periodic table), closely allied with the element selenium in chemical and physical properties. It was discovered in 1782 by Franz Joseph Muller von Reichenstein, a mining inspector in Transylvania. Tellurium is not an abundant element, although it is widely distributed around the world. It is rarely found in the uncombined state and usually occurs as tellurides of copper, lead, silver, gold, iron, or bismuth. The chief sources from which the element is extracted are the slimes from copper and lead refineries in addition to flue dusts from the processing of telluride gold ores.