Archive | Platinum Group Metals

Zimbabwe mining: Platinum has promise and lithium looms large – by Tonderayi Mukeredzi (The Africa Report – July 11, 2018)

Harare: President Emmerson Mnangagwa desperately wants to show that he can turn the economy around and is looking for quick wins from the mining sector, which had been spooked by his predecessor’s indigenisation plans. Mnangagwa does not want to completely liberalise the sector, and the government still insists on majority local ownership for platinum and diamond mining projects.

A new mining bill now making its way through parliament proposes to force mining companies to list on the local stock exchange, though foreign minister Sibusiso Moyo told an audience at Chatham House in London on 25 April that the clause would be taken out.

Platinum is the main focus for miners, and in March, Cyprus-based Karo Resources signed a deal with a promise of $4.2bn in investment in the Mhondoro-Ngezi region. A lot of platinum goes into catalytic converters and other devices to reduce emissions on petrol-powered cars. Continue Reading →

2,500 Job Cuts Weren’t Enough for World’s No. 2 Platinum Miner – by Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – July 9, 2018)

(Bloomberg) — Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. is facing some tough choices as the South African miner works to stem losses at aging shafts amid slumping prices for the metal.

The world’s second-largest producer has already cut 2,500 jobs in the year through June and says there may be more to come. Only three of the 10 shafts at its sprawling Rustenburg mining complex were making money as of March. Things have only gotten worse since then, with platinum prices dropping another 9 percent and hitting a nine-year low last week.

Implats, as the company is known, will announce the results of a strategic review of Rustenburg in September, said spokesman Johan Theron. The challenges facing the industry mean the miner can’t discount the possibility of more job losses, he said. The company employs about 31,000 people at its Rustenburg operations. Continue Reading →

Ongoing fuel cell developments kindle hope for platinum demand – by Martin Creamer ( – June 26, 2018)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Ongoing hydrogen fuel cell developments across the globe are kindling hope for an eventual significant increase in platinum demand.

This month alone, Hyundai Auto Canada took part in the official opening of Canada’s first retail hydrogen fuelling station operated by Shell and Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation, France announced that it was targeting 100 hydrogen fuel cell stations, a Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle refuelled at the new hydrogen station in Iceland,

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Transport announced plans for ten hydrogen fuelling stations to be installed in the country by 2025, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced the selection of four projects to install 52 MW of fuel cell power in the state, doubling Connecticut’s installed capacity to 100 MW, FuelCell Energy will install a 14.8 MW fuel cell system in the city of Derby, and a 7.4 MW system in the state capital of Hartford, and Bloom Energy will install a 10 MW system in the town of Colchester. Continue Reading →

Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines selling minority stake to China’s CITIC – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – June 12, 2018)

Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. is selling a minority stake to a Chinese state-owned firm, securing an important financing source, as uncertainty lingers over how a new African mining code could affect the Canadian base metals miner.

On Monday, Ivanhoe announced it is selling 19.9 per cent of the company by issuing 196.6 million shares in a private placement to CITIC Metal, a subsidiary of CITIC Ltd., China’s largest conglomerate.

The shares are being issued at $3.68 apiece, a 13-per-cent premium to its Friday close. CITIC Metal, which is set to become Ivanhoe’s biggest shareholder, has also agreed to advance Ivanhoe a US$100-million loan. Continue Reading →

Sibanye-Stillwater has plan to cut debt by a third, and it is not a rights offer – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – June 7, 2018)

Analysts pointed out that streaming was often a sign of a company in trouble

Debt-laden Sibanye-Stillwater will put in place a structure to generate cash within the next eight weeks, to address investors’ concern about its debt and a potential rights issue that has halved the company’s share price so far this year.

Sibanye’s net debt stands at about R23bn and analysts have flagged concern about the ratio of net debt to adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda), which was 2.4 times at the end of March.

That is below the covenant requirement of less than 3.5 times for the remainder of this year and 2.5 times thereafter. Continue Reading →

US, Japanese platinum jewellery demand to continue growing – by Marleny Arnoldi ( – June 6, 2018)

With China’s strong economic growth in the first quarter of this year, jewellery demand in that country also increased, but platinum jewellery demand lagged behind other jewellery segments owing to a lack in innovative product and market-wide marketing support, says Platinum Guild International (PGI).

PGI, on Wednesday, released its quarterly ‘Platinum Jewellery Business Review’ saying that the outlook for Chinese consumption this year and over the coming years remains positive, driven by a growing middle class and rising income.

This has led to a change in consumer preferences along with increasing urbanisation, wider Internet penetration and retail competition, which will benefit consumption of high-end goods. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe: Mining Speculators Invade Great Dyke – by Owen Gagare and Blessed Mhlanga (All Africa – May 24, 2018)

The politically well-connected Cypriot Pouroulis family — which is close to President Emmerson Mnangagwa — and is associated with speculation in mining has hit the jackpot in Zimbabwe.

After clinching a dodgy US$4,2 billion platinum investment deal with government in March through its company Karo Resources Limited, it has now acquired three vast special grants to mine chrome and other natural resources along the mineral-rich Great Dyke.

The latest deal was sealed last week. This effectively gives them control of vast swathes of some of the most lucrative mineral concessions in Zimbabwe. The Great Dyke hosts huge ore deposits, including gold, silver, chrome, platinum, nickel and asbestos. Continue Reading →

Underground turnaround: How North American Palladium came back from the brink – by Graham Chandler (CIM Magazine – May 2018)

For most of 2015, things were not looking good for North American Palladium (NAP). On April 16 its stock price cratered so low the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of the company’s shares. In August the company went through a financial restructuring that saw Brookfield Asset Management become a 92 per cent owner and by September NAP had to axe its workforce by 13 per cent, to 422 employees.

Fast forward to 2018. The company’s Lac des Iles mine, 90 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario, now has 613 employees – a 45 per cent increase over 2015. Those workers have steered a generational turnaround for NAP that has set successive underground production records and returned the company to profitability.

Lac des Iles first began operation as an open pit mine in 1993, producing just over 3,000 tonnes per day of ore from the Roby zone. With the commissioning of a new mill late in 2002, the production rate increased to 15,000 tonnes per day. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe mines need $11 billion investment to modernize – by MacDonald Dzirutwe (Reuters U.S. – May 18, 2018)

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe (Reuters) – Zimbabwe needs up to $11 billion to modernize its mines and boost production to maximum capacity over the next five years, the head of the country’s Chamber of Mines said on Friday.

Foreign investor interest in the southern African nation is growing after the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe following a de facto military coup last November but projects are still constrained by lack of funding.

Batirai Manhando, Chamber of Mines president, said with the exception of platinum producers, all other mines, including those of gold, nickel, cobalt and coal were operating below their installed capacity. Continue Reading →

Young, bridal jewellery consumers to drive platinum demand – by Nadine James ( – May 18, 2018)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Young, bridal and self-purchasing jewellery consumers are emerging to contribute to platinum demand growth this year, the Platinum Guild International (PGI) reports.

In its ‘2017 Platinum Jewellery Business Review’, the PGI found strong consumer retail sales growth in the US, Japan and India for 2017 and noted that platinum jewellery had even outperformed gold in some areas.

“We saw above-market growth for platinum jewellery in three out of four key markets in 2017. This trend is tied to a robust global economy and historically low platinum prices, which, together with an increasing preference for platinum among younger consumers, indicates growth potential in the platinum jewellery sector in 2018,” PGI CEO Huw Daniel commented. Continue Reading →

Lonmin results will be make or break – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – May 11, 2018)

Platinum miner Lonmin’s interim results on Monday will be among its most closely scrutinised as the market looks at its cash generation (if any), spending, debt levels and restructuring efforts, all of which will feed into a decision from Sibanye-Stillwater shareholders whether to proceed with a R5bn all-share bid for the company.

Analysts have mixed views about the likelihood of the success of the deal announced last December and which would essentially solve Lonmin’s problems at a stroke and make Sibanye one of the world’s top three platinum group metal suppliers. There is a long way to go before that happens, however.

Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman didn’t mince words at the company’s annual results presentation in February this year, warning Lonmin’s executives to not let the platinum miner slip into a “black hole” and to be cash positive by the time shareholders have to vote on the deal, because Sibanye’s shareholders could not be expected to take on more debt. Continue Reading →

Pistorius prosecutor Gerrie Nel sets his sights on Ivanhoe Mines – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – May 9, 2018)

South African prosecutor Gerrie Nel, famed for winning a murder conviction against Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius, has turned his sights on a company owned by Canadian mining tycoon Robert Friedland for alleged illegalities at its South African platinum mine.

Mr. Nel, who works for South African organization AfriForum, announced on Tuesday that he is considering the private prosecution of a subsidiary of Mr. Friedland’s company, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., for alleged violations of environmental laws and other regulations.

Mr. Friedland has said that the $1.6-billion mine, which he is developing about 280 kilometres northeast of Johannesburg, will become the world’s largest and lowest-cost platinum mine. The mine’s first shaft reached a depth of 750 metres last month. Continue Reading →

Fuel cell frenzy as cars, plants deploy platinum to protect environment – by Martin Creamer ( – April 26, 2018)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Hyundai has just launched its new Nexo fuel cell car in South Korea, pre-orders for which exceeded expectations, Honda last month launched the new 2018 Clarity fuel cell car, Doosan Fuel Cell America has cut the ribbon on three 460 kW fuel cells at the Waterbury Pollution Control Authority in Connecticut,

FuelCell Energy has announced an agreement to sell a 2.8 MW fuel cell power plant to the Tulare Waste Water Treatment Facility in California, Amazon has contracted with Plug Power to deploy fuel cell forklifts at its warehouses around the US, and the California Fuel Cell Partnership announced the opening of the state’s thirty-third hydrogen fuelling station.

These positive deployments of platinum-catalysed hydrogen fuel cells in the US follow strides taken in Japan, Germany and China to bring these fuel cells into service to protect the environment holistically, and they also precede a national fuel cell forum in Washington on June 12, ahead of a key US Department of Energy merit review. Continue Reading →

Action on troubled Rustenburg mines a “key imperative” – Implats CEO – by Brendan Ryan (MiningMx – April 26, 2018)

Impala Platinum (Implats) has dropped its refined platinum production guidance for the year to end-June to 1.46m oz from the previous estimate of 1.5m following smelter problems at the Rustenburg division.

CEO Nico Muller commented, “following operational issues affecting the smelter at Impala Rustenburg, which resulted in lower refined volumes and the stockpiling of metal-in-concentrate, all group furnaces are now operational and making steady progress in processing the inventory build-up.”

But he pointed out the furnace problems experienced meant not all the metal-in-concentrate could be refined before the end of the financial year hence the revised production forecast. Accumulated “above normal” pipeline stocks are expected to be some 100,000oz of platinum at the end of June. Continue Reading →

Russia Sanctions Spook Palladium Investors – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – April 22, 2018)

Hedge funds just made an abrupt about face in the palladium market as U.S. sanctions against Russian titans spark concerns that the world’s largest producer of the metal will get caught in the cross hairs.

After the U.S. slapped penalties on United Co. Rusal, American officials have sent conflicting signals about whether fresh sanctions will be imposed on other companies owned by oligarchs, such as MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC.

The miner controls about 40 percent of the world’s palladium market. The turmoil sent prices for the metal to a seven-week high, and money managers increased their wagers on a rally by the most since June. Continue Reading →