With the too-high economic cost of a lost opportunity looming, immediate measures are required to assist the platinum group metals (PGMs) mining sector to improve its viability and preserve employment.
This is the intent behind the industry’s new South African National Platinum Strategy, with its most optimistic scenario the creation of more than one-million jobs and a contribution of R8.2-trillion to South Africa’s economy by 2050.
“Platinum . . . can play the role that gold played in helping to develop South Africa into the most [advanced] country in Africa,” says Minerals Council South Africa CEO Roger Baxter, noting that the platinum treasure trove could enable South Africa to regain its position as the undisputed leading country in Africa going forward.
“Platinum would be the dominant feature of South Africa in the next century, as gold was in the last century. It really has that potential,” he says of the mooted achievement of the ‘high road’ scenario mapped out in the new platinum strategy.
Unlocking sales of $35-billion a year by 2050 would mean that the platinum mining sector could add as much value to investment, exports and gross domestic product as the gold mining sector did in the twentieth century.