Archive | Platinum Group Metals

Lac des Iles Mine on lockdown – Staff (Northern Ontario Business – April 10, 2020)

Impala Canada has placed its Lac des Iles mine (LDI) site into quarantine and will be shutting down operations for an undetermined period.

After a visit by Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) officials to the remote property, 90 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, late on April 9, the company decided to use this period to temporarily shut down the underground mining and milling operation after one confirmed case of COVID-19 with a worker was reported earlier this week.

A spokesperson with the palladium mining company said health officials determined there was potential for the virus to be incubating within individuals at the site. Continue Reading →

Nickel drilling campaign turns up PGMs: Canada Nickel makes palladium-platinum find near Timmins – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – April 7, 2020)

A fledgling junior mining company searching for nickel and cobalt, north of Timmins, has discovered a zone of palladium and platinum.

Canada Nickel Company, a spinoff of Noble Mineral Exploration, announced the discovery after the results came back from a drilling program on their Crawford nickel-cobalt sulphide project, 40 kilometres north of the city.

According to an April 6 news release, this separate zone sits north and next to the nickel sulphide discovery that was made early last year. A first-time resource calculation was posted in early March. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-Top platinum miners declare force majeure after coronavirus lockdown – by Tanisha Heiberg and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.K. – March 30, 2020)

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) – The world’s largest platinum producers Anglo American Platinum, Sibanye Stillwater and Impala Platinum have declared force majeure on contracts after a three-week national lockdown has forced operations to close.

South Africa, which accounts for around 70% of mined platinum, called the shutdown last week to to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure triggered a downgrade by ratings agency Moody’s on Friday and will hit the country’s mining industry, which accounts for about 7% of GDP.

Miners have put many of their operations in care and maintenance and have reduced metal processing, while the coronavirus has also slowed demand from global car companies. Continue Reading →

After the rout, platinum and palladium face more turmoil before recovery – by Peter Hobson and Sumita Layek (Reuters U.K. – March 18, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – Platinum and palladium will remain turbulent in coming months after huge losses sparked by the spread of coronavirus, before starting a tentative recovery with support from palladium’s supply gap and platinum’s correlation with gold, analysts said.

Platinum has plunged 40% and palladium 45% from February highs as efforts to contain coronavirus stifled the global economy and turmoil in wider markets forced investors to sell precious metals for emergency cash. [MKTS/GLOB]

On Monday, platinum suffered its biggest one-day fall on record and touched $558 an ounce – the lowest since 2002 – while palladium tumbled from a record high of $2,875.50 to some $1,500 an ounce. Continue Reading →

World’s Biggest Precious Metal Industry Readies for Coronavirus – by Antony Sguazzin and Janice Kew (Bloomberg News – March 17, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Platinum and gold mines in South Africa, which together make up the world’s biggest precious metals industry, are gearing up to try and minimize a local outbreak of the coronavirus that could disrupt operations where hundreds of thousands of people work in close proximity.

Companies including Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. are preparing a range of measures, from checking the temperature of workers before they enter narrow elevators to descend up to 2.4 miles underground to encouraging employees to find out their HIV status. They’re also distributing flu shots and changing the way statutory medical examinations are done.

The platinum group metals industry employs about 164,000 people in South Africa. The gold industry, even though it’s in decline, has 95,000 workers. Together they generate about 200 billion rand ($12 billion) in sales annually and the metals are among the country’s biggest exports. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 3-Anglo American Platinum shares slide after explosion forces shutdown – by Helen Reid (Reuters U.S. – March 6, 2020)

JOHANNESBURG, March 6 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Anglo American Platinum declared force majeure and cut its production outlook after an explosion led to a shutdown of processing facilities, sending its shares sharply lower and driving the price of platinum up.

Amplats, the world’s second-biggest platinum producer, cut its 2020 production guidance for platinum group metals (PGMs) by 900,000 ounces, from between 4.2 million and 4.7 million ounces to between 3.3 million and 3.8 million ounces.

The miner’s Johannesburg-listed shares closed down 14.3% and Anglo American, which owns 77% of Amplats, saw its London-listed shares fall 8.8%. Spot platinum prices rose on expectations of tighter supply and were up 2.9% by 1620 GMT. Continue Reading →

Palladium and an Ontario mining success story – by Robert Mason (Canadian Mining Journal – March 2020)

ROBERT MASON is a Toronto-based partner and the head of mining in Canada at Norton Rose Fulbright.

Palladium has been making headlines of late with the scarce metal surging past gold to hit a record high, the rally in part driven by concerns over Russian and South African supplies. Just a few years ago, in February 2016, prices fell to as low as US$482 per oz.

Since that time, however, they have increased by almost 400% to sit today at about US$2,300 per oz. This is a remarkable increase over such a short period of time, due largely to growing demand from the automotive industry for use in emissions-reducing catalytic converters.

Canada produces little palladium, but it boasts an incredible success story. Thanks to the meteoric rise in palladium prices, the value of the Lac des Iles mine near Thunder Bay has increased many times over during the last three years, culminating in the project’s sale to Impala Platinum for $1 billion last fall. Continue Reading →

Amplats CEO To Be Most Powerful Woman in Precious-Metals Mining – by Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – February 20, 2020)

(Bloomberg)-When Natascha Viljoen takes over as chief executive officer of Anglo American Platinum Ltd. in April, she will be the only woman running a major precious-metals mining company.

Mining remains male-dominated, despite efforts by companies including BHP Group to increase the presence of women in their executive leadership. Cynthia Carroll, the first female CEO of Amplats’s parent Anglo American Plc before she quit in 2012, said last year that miners should do more to push gender diversity.

​Viljoen, currently head of processing at Anglo, will take over from Chris Griffith when he leaves on April 16. The 49-year-old metallurgical engineer will report to a board that includes Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani. Viljoen’s 28-year career, including a stint at platinum producer Lonmin Plc, makes her ideally placed to take Amplats forward. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-Anglo American Platinum CEO Griffith to step down, earnings soar – by Tanisha Heiberg (Reuters India – February 17, 2020)

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Chief Executive Chris Griffith said on Monday he will step down in April from the helm of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), which on Monday reported a doubling in annual earnings, driven by higher metals prices.

Amplats, a unit of global mining giant Anglo American , said Griffith’s successor was expected to be an internal candidate and would be announced soon.

“After more than seven years at the helm, and given all that we as a team have achieved, this is now the natural time for the next generation of leadership to take this business forward and deliver further value,” Griffith said. Continue Reading →

Platinum Mining Giant Says South Africa Running Out of Time – by Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – February 3, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa may be running out of time to enact the reforms required to attract significant investments in the country’s mining industry.

That’s the fear expressed by Sibanye Gold Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman, who prefers to look at opportunities in West Africa, the Americas and Australia. The risks of doing business in his home country will increase should weak economic growth and ballooning government debt be compounded by the loss of South Africa’s last investment-grade credit rating, he said.

“There has been a distinct lack of turnaround, if anything we have gone backward,” Froneman said in an interview before executives gather in Cape Town on Monday for Africa’s biggest mining conference. “To be clear and blunt, he also hasn’t made some of the difficult decisions and we are hurtling into a debt trap.” Continue Reading →

World’s Most Expensive Precious Metal Surges Amid Emissions Clampdown – by Joe Wallace (Wall Street Journal – January 23, 2020)

The price of rhodium, a precious metal that strips pollutants out of exhaust fumes, is surging as car manufacturers in Asia and Europe scramble to abide by stricter emission regimes.

Supplies of rhodium are limited because the metal is mined as a byproduct of platinum, palladium and gold, while demand is rising as regulators restrict emissions and subject autos to more rigorous tests.

Rhodium prices—which are vulnerable to wild swings because the metal has no futures market—have surged 65% to $9,985 a troy ounce in 2020, according to British chemicals company Johnson Matthey PLC. This builds on last year’s rally, extending rhodium’s advance over the past 12 months to more than 300%. Continue Reading →

Why are rhodium prices on a roll? (The Economist – January 25, 2020)

When anna scott left her Honda Jazz in a commuters’ car park outside Oxford on January 10th, she had little reason to think that criminals would take an interest in the 12-year-old car.

Yet the next afternoon a group of shifty characters were spotted sawing off its catalytic converter. Such incidents have become more frequent across Britain as prices for palladium and rhodium, metals contained in the devices, have rocketed.

The price of rhodium has risen by 63% in the first three weeks of January alone, to $9,850 per ounce, around six times that of gold. There is no telling when it will fall back to earth. Continue Reading →

For Clues About Palladium, Look to… North Macedonia? – by David Fickling (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – January 20, 2020)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — “The Balkans” — according to remark often attributed to Winston Churchill — “produce more history than they can consume.” Precious-metal traders betting on the record surge in palladium prices might want to draw a similar lesson.

That’s because production and consumption of palladium and its sister-metal platinum in one tiny Balkan state are giving crucial clues to the way producers of automobile catalytic converters use the two elements. This in turn is likely to affect the path of prices for both metals.

As we’ve written, there are strong fundamental underpinnings to the extraordinary rally that’s seen palladium prices increase nearly fivefold in the past four years, at a time when platinum is up a mere 25%. Both metals have extensive industrial uses in the converters that strip carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides from car exhausts. Continue Reading →

The price of palladium is absolutely exploding – here’s why that’s good news for South Africa (Business Insider SA – January 21, 2020)

Since the start of this year, the price of palladium – a silvery-white metal primarily found in South Africa and Russia – has jumped by more than 22%. In a single day, on Friday, the price increased by $150 an ounce. On Monday, it continued its rally – gaining more than 3%.

It’s now 80% more expensive than a year ago and, since 2016, the palladium price has rallied by more than 400% – from $450/oz to more than $2,300.

Why is palladium in such hot demand?

Palladium has special qualities which allows it to help turn toxic gases into water vapour and other less-dangerous gases. Almost 90% of palladium is used in vehicle exhausts to help reduce emissions from cars. Platinum has similar characteristics, but is not as effective as palladium – particularly not in petrol-fuelled vehicles.

As countries around the world tighten their emission rules for vehicles, so the demand for palladium has increased. In China alone, new emissions standards now requires 30% more palladium per vehicle, according to a Reuters report. Continue Reading →

‘There’s no metal’: Record-breaking palladium races higher – by Peter Hobson (Reuters U.K. – Janaury 17, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – A squeeze in ready availability of automotive metal palladium has driven up already record-high prices by 25% in just two weeks, accelerating a four-year rally and stoking expectations for further gains, analysts said.

A long-term supply deficit has led prices of the metal, used mainly in engine exhausts to curb harmful emissions, to double over the last year.

Consumers’ immediate needs are often met in the lending market, in which holders of metal put their stocks to work for a profit. However, rates charged to lease palladium have spiked in recent weeks, suggesting availability is tight. Continue Reading →