Archive | Platinum Group Metals

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 →

Is Norilsk Nickel too big to sanction? – by Henry Foy and Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – April 19, 2018)

Is Norilsk Nickel too big to sanction? That is a question on the lips of investors and analysts as they ponder which companies might be next on the White House’s Russian sanctions list.

The company, based in the world’s most northern city that gives the group its name, certainly thinks size might be a key factor in deterring US president Donald Trump from placing one of the biggest metal producers on the list.

Like the large banks in the financial crisis deemed too big to fail, the company may be right in thinking that size matters as its nickel and palladium supplies are crucial to western manufacturers for products from cars to batteries. Continue Reading →

Palladium takes off on fears of US sanctions against Norilsk Nickel – by Brendan Ryan (MiningMx – April 16, 2018)

The palladium price has jumped during the past week over the possibility that the world’s top producer – MMC Norilsk Nickel which is listed on the London Stock Exchange – could be affected by the latest round of US sanctions imposed on Russia.

Norilsk is also the world’s second largest producer of nickel and fourth largest producer of platinum and rhodium which are mined as by-products from its huge mining operations in the Taimyr and Kola peninsulas in northern Russia. Norilsk is also a 50/50 partner with African Rainbow Minerals in the Nkomati nickel/platinum operation in Mpumalanga.

According to John Meyer of UK broker SP Angel, palladium is up 9% – to $986/oz from $975/oz last week – “on the back of supply concerns as the world’s top producer – Russia – faces fresh sanctions imposed by the US. Despite production not being directly hit by the sanctions, the market has been rattled by the inclusion of Russian magnate Oleg Deripaska on the trade blacklist.” Continue Reading →

South Africa’s east platinum belt hit by over 400 social unrest incidents since 2016 – by Ed Stoddard (Reuters U.S. – April 10, 2018)

BURGERSFORT, South Africa (Reuters) – The eastern limb of South Africa’s platinum belt has been hit by over 400 incidents of social unrest impacting mining operations since the start of 2016, according to data compiled by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and provided to Reuters.

The restive region in the country’s northeast has been a flashpoint of violence rooted in community grievances over jobs, revenue flows and conflict between rival unions that threatens production in the world’s top producer of the precious metal.

Last week six workers were burnt to death in the area when the bus they were on was set alight by a petrol bomb. The bus was transporting them to their shifts at the Modikwa platinum mine operated by African Rainbow Minerals and Amplats. Continue Reading →

The move to EVs will take time, but the shift in commodity demand will be ‘dramatic’ – Gareth Penny (Metal Bulletin – April 4, 2018)

In a comprehensive interview with Andrea Hotter in the April 2018 issue of Metal Market Magazine, Norilsk Nickel chairman Gareth Penny gave his predictions for electric and hybrid vehicle growth and how the company will move to maximize the value of its products.

As the electrification of the global economy continues to increase demand for the metals that Norilsk produces, particularly nickel and cobalt, Penny predicts a dramatic shift in commodity demand patterns.

“Like most of these things, the move to EVs will take longer than people think, but when the time arrives, it’ll be even more dramatic,” he says. Continue Reading →

Six miners killed and 44 injured as bus petrol-bombed in Limpopo – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – April 3, 2018)

Some of the mining companies have spoken of a criminal element creeping into protests in an area where unemployment and poverty are high

Six miners and 44 others were hurt in an arson attack on a bus carrying them to the Modikwa Platinum Mine on Monday evening.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), police and the companies that own the mine, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) and Anglo American Platinum, said the employees were on their way from the Ga-Morga village in Limpopo to the mine on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Igneouss Complex.

The attackers were unknown, as was the motive. Continue Reading →

Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe Mining Rush Leaves Big Producers Behind – by Felix Njini and Brian Latham (Bloomberg News – April 3, 2018)

While Zimbabwe’s leadership change has sparked a race for the nation’s mineral riches among entrepreneurs and tiny explorers, big-name mining companies are taking a wait-and-see approach.

New President Emmerson Mnangagwa has a lot to prove as he seeks to revive the economy and attract mining investment that shriveled under his predecessor, Robert Mugabe. So far, Mnangagwa has pledged investor-friendly policy changes and partially rolled back a law requiring mining companies to be locally owned.

It seems to be working, at least in some quarters. The government says mining commitments reached as much as $6 billion since Mnangagwa’s appointment, including a record $4.2 billion pledge from a company linked to mining entrepreneur Loucas Pouroulis for a platinum mine and associated infrastructure. Continue Reading →

Platinum Mines in the World’s Top Producer Are Shrinking – by Felix Njini and Eddie Van Der Walt (Bloomberg News – March 26, 2018)

“Ramaphoria” boosted the rand and revived investor sentiment on South Africa. But deep underground in the country’s platinum mines, there’s very little cause for optimism.

Producers in South Africa, which accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s mined platinum, are closing shafts and cutting thousands of jobs as a stronger rand combines with stagnating prices for the metal in squeezing profit margins.

The future looks equally bleak, as reduced demand for diesel engines and the rise of electric cars threatens to erode the need for the metal used to cut pollution. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe hopes to transform mining sector with $4.2 billion platinum deal – by MacDonald Dzirutwe (Reuters U.S. – March 22, 2018)

HARARE (Reuters) – A Cypriot investor signed a $4.2 billion deal on Thursday to develop a platinum mine and refinery in Zimbabwe, an investment that President Emmerson Mnangagwa said showed the country was “open for business”.

Signing the agreement with Cyprus-based Karo Resources, Mines Minister Winston Chitando said work would start in July, with the first output of platinum group metals expected in 2020, aiming to reach 1.4 million ounces annually within three years.

It was unclear, however, where all the funding would come from and analysts said the project start date of July looked very ambitious. Continue Reading →