Archive | Platinum Group Metals

Mining’s Biggest Loser Lonmin Is Burning Cash to Stay Alive – by Kevin Crowley (Bloomberg News – March 16, 2017)

For most of the mining industry, 2017 is turning out to be another good year. The big exception is Lonmin Plc.

Investors are losing confidence in the world’s third-largest platinum producer as it burns through cash to stay afloat, just 15 months after raising about $400 million from shareholders. Platinum prices aren’t far from a seven-year low and Lonmin has its own set of operational problems, including higher costs and lower output at its biggest mining shaft.

The stock is down more than 30 percent in 2017, the most in the FTSE All-Share Basic Materials Index of 28 commodity producers. The overall index has gained 11 percent this year. Continue Reading →

Toyota’s new technology a blow for platinum, palladium price – by Frik Els ( – February 22, 2017)

Toyota sold more than 10 million vehicles last year placing it in a virtual tie with Volkswagen as the world’s number one automaker. Stricter pollution regulations around the world and intense competition mean that top priority for traditional car companies is to cut costs and reduce emissions.

A new technology unveiled by Toyota on Wednesday is win for the Japanese company on both counts. Toyota announced the availability of a new, smaller catalyst that uses 20% less precious metal in approximately 20% less volume, while maintaining the same exhaust gas purification performance.

Toyota’s “world’s first integrally-molded Flow Adjustable Design Cell (FLAD)” is not the first time researchers have found innovative ways to reduce pricey platinum group metals in exhaust systems. But those technologies seldom make it all the way to the assembly line. Continue Reading →

Judge overturns halt in Ivanhoe grave relocations in South Africa – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – February 20, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG — A South African judge has overturned a court injunction at a huge Canadian-owned platinum project, saying that any delay to the project would cause “significant prejudice” to the company and the local community.

The judge reversed an earlier court order, issued last November, that had halted the exhuming and relocating of dozens of ancestral graves at the site where Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. is developing a $1.6-billion platinum mine.

Hundreds of community members have been fighting against the mine for years. But the company says the project would provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs, along with education and training opportunities and a local ownership trust. Continue Reading →

China May Be a Hitch in African Miner’s Bid for U.S. Platinum – by David McLaughlin and Kevin Crowley (Bloomberg News – February 9, 2017)

What’s to keep South Africa’s biggest gold miner from buying a U.S. palladium producer? China, perhaps.

Sibanye Gold Ltd. is seeking regulatory approval for its $2.2 billion takeover of U.S.-based Stillwater Mining Co. Adding Stillwater’s two Montana mines — the only platinum-group operations in the U.S. and the biggest outside South Africa and Russia — would make Sibanye the world’s third-biggest palladium producer.

A Chinese consortium owns about 20 percent of Sibanye, making it the miner’s biggest single shareholder. That may spark concerns at the U.S. body that reviews whether purchases of businesses by foreign buyers could threaten national security. That regulator — the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. — has looked warily on some high-profile investments by Chinese investors. Continue Reading →

Enormous global demand on way for copper, platinum, zinc – Friedland – by Martin Creamer ( – February 8, 2017)

CAPE TOWN ( – Enormous global demand is building up for copper, platinum and zinc, driven by new technology, mitigation of health risks in hospitals and agricultural augmentation, Ivanhoe Mines executive chairperson Robert Friedland said on Wednesday.

In a comprehensive address to the Investing in African Mining Indaba, Friedland used statistics from credible global institutions and well-recorded technological advances to highlight major looming copper shortages, strong upcoming platinum demand for hydrogen fuel cells and the practice of adding zinc to soils to grow food, which promotes good health and renders the metal nonrecyclable.

He flashed on to a big screen graphics of platinum-catalysed fuel cell vehicles needed to do the main job of stopping tiny particles in the air of major urban cities from entering lungs, getting into the blood stream and then going permanently beyond the blood brain barrier. Continue Reading →

Lonmin reports lower output as protesters demand compensation – by Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.K. – January 26, 2017)

LONDON – Lonmin LML.L reported weaker than expected output on Thursday, causing analysts to raise doubts over 2017 production targets, and faced demands for compensation following the shooting of 34 miners at Marikana in South Africa’s platinum belt.

The company reiterated its sales guidance for 2017, but said larger shafts, known as generation 2, had disappointed and production from them was 5.2 percent lower in the final three months of last year than in the previous year.

The production shortfall added to steep losses for Lonmin’s volatile share price. It was down more than 16 percent by 1230 GMT. The wider sector was roughly flat. .FTNMX1770 Continue Reading →

Davos boosts platinum fuel cell outlook with hydrogen council launch – by Martin Creamer ( – January 18, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (EVs) offer the most natural solution for emission-free vehicles, discharging only water and requiring negligible change to current driving and refuelling habits, which is why 13 leading energy, transport and industry companies this week chose Davos to launch a global hydrogen initiative aimed at beating climate change.

Collectively representing revenues of €1.07-trillion and 1.72-million global employees, the new Hydrogen Council is going all out to position hydrogen as the answer to the world’s search for a carbon dioxide-free environment – which is a major boost for platinum-catalysed fuel cells.

At Davos, hydrogen was declared the clean fuel that can take the world into a no-carbon future, on the back of technology breakthroughs that include liquefied hydrogen now being safely transportable in much the same way as oil. Continue Reading →

Palladium rally shines on bullish industrial demand – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – Janurary 4, 2017)

Palladium has started 2017 with a bang. The metal has climbed more than 8 per cent in the first three trading days, taking it to $735 an ounce, thanks to strong US and Chinese manufacturing data as well as a buoyant set of sales figures from General Motors.

Unlike other precious metals, palladium is sensitive to changes in industrial demand because one of its most common uses is to reduce fumes from petrol-powered vehicles. This sets it apart from gold and silver, which are more heavily influenced by changes in monetary policy and broader risk appetite.

Palladium rose almost 20 per cent last year, outperforming gold and sister metal platinum, which gained just 1 per cent. Platinum is used in catalytic converters but in the smaller diesel market — and it has also rallied this week, helped by optimism about global economic growth. Continue Reading →

Lonmin promises housing plan after S. Africa’s Zuma threatens to revoke permit – by Tiisetso Motsoeneng (Daily Mail/Reuters – December 12, 2016)

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 12 (Reuters) – South Africa-focused platinum miner Lonmin is confident of submitting a plan to build workers’ housing that meets government requirements, it said on Monday, after President Jacob Zuma threatened to revoke its mining permit if it failed to do so.

Zuma’s warning on Sunday piles pressure on the company to spend more on workers’ housing at a time when it is cutting costs after being saved from the brink of collapse last year by a deeply discounted $400 million equity cash call.

To secure a mining licence, mining companies must submit a plan for housing and living conditions for their workers, many of whom come from former “homelands”, far from the mines, where blacks were forced to live in South Africa’s racist past. Continue Reading →

South Africa’s Sibanye Gold to Buy Stillwater Mining for $2.2 Billion in Latest Platinum Push – by Alexandra Wexler (Wall Street Journal – December 9, 2016)

JOHANNESBURG—Just over a year ago, South African miner Sibanye Gold Ltd. simply dug up its namesake yellow metal in its home market. Now the company is poised to become the world’s third-largest producer of palladium as well, with three sizable acquisitions over the last 15 months, crowned by Friday’s announcement that it plans to buy U.S. palladium and platinum miner Stillwater Mining Co. for $2.2 billion.

The moves illustrate the tectonic shifts recalibrating the global mining industry after the commodities bust. The Stillwater purchase is Sibanye’s first foray outside of Southern Africa and its latest bold move to diversify beyond gold mining.

The acquisition is also a vote of confidence in the platinum group of metals, which includes platinum and palladium, most commonly used in the auto industry to reduce engine emissions, in addition to a strategic diversification away from the often-difficult operating environment in South Africa. Continue Reading →

Anglo Faces Platinum Test in Possible South Africa Spinoff – by Janice Kew, Kevin Crowley, and Loni Prinsloo (Bloomberg News – December 5, 2016)

Anglo American Plc is facing a showdown with its biggest investor, South Africa’s state-owned Public Investment Corp., which wants the miner’s prized platinum assets included in any divestment of its local operations.

PIC, which owns about 14.5 percent of Anglo, is insisting platinum is included in the suite of coal and iron ore assets that the miner is considering spinning off, according to a person familiar with the fund manager’s thinking.

That presents a major hurdle to Anglo Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani, who says platinum is one of the company’s core commodities, along with copper and diamonds.

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. is the world’s biggest producer of the metal and 70 percent of global production comes from South Africa. Continue Reading →

Jim Gallagher: Mining his Way to the Top – by MODERN MINING AND TECHNOLOGY SUDBURY MAGAZINE

President and CEO of North American Palladium Ltd., Jim Gallagher is a professional mining engineer with more than 34 years of experience in the mining industry. We sat down with him to ask him a few questions about his education, his career and everything in between.

How did you get started in the mining business?

To be honest, I had a very narrow view of the opportunities the mining industry offered. I worked for a year at Inco after graduating and entered the geology program at Laurentian. I thought I would be a career geologist working at a mine.
How did you come to choose your educational path? Continue Reading →

Wallbridge Mining ventures into the unexplored: Drilling commences on Sudbury joint venture (Northern Ontario Business – November 21, 2016)

The Wallbridge Mining Company is breaking unusually new ground in the Sudbury Basin. The Sudbury-based junior mining company started another round of drilling on their Parkin Properties, on the northeast edge of the basin, in October.

The site is practically virgin territory compared to nearby areas, according to Joshua Bailey, vice-president of exploration at the Wallbridge Mining Company.

“It hasn’t had as much exploration as elsewhere,” said Bailey, adding that “if this project has a fraction of what is elsewhere in the basin, it would be a success.” This isn’t the first drilling in the area for Wallbridge.

They completed promising drilling between 2008 and 2012 as part of a joint venture with Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats), after which they re-purchased Implat’s nearly 50 per cent interest in the properties. Continue Reading →

Platinum market may see first surplus in six years in 2017: JM – by Jan Harvey (Reuters U.S. – November 14, 2016)

LONDON – The platinum market could return to surplus for the first time in six years in 2017 as lower autocatalyst loadings and weakness in Chinese jewelry buying pull demand lower, refiner Johnson Matthey said in a report on Monday.

Mine supply is expected to be flat next year, but supply of recycled metal from autocatalysts has the potential to rebound, it said.

“In most industrial sectors, the demand outlook remains firm, but purchases in the autocatalyst industry are likely to dip slightly as lower-platinum-loaded catalyst systems are introduced in increasing numbers in European vehicles,” it said. Continue Reading →

Anglo American sees ‘bright future’ as metals industry hopes for strength in China – by Jon Yeomans (The Telegraph – October 31, 2016)

The mining and metals industry has a “bright future”, the boss of Anglo American has said, as the sector weighs up the future of China, the biggest consumer of raw materials. Mark Cutifani told the LME Week conference in London that commodities had seen “extreme price volatility in the last few months” but that “the future still looks pretty bright”.

The Anglo boss admitted that the mining industry had earned a reputation for “overextending itself”. “Companies have been rescued by a timely uplift in prices – relying on a ‘get out of jail’ card,” he said.

Mr Cutifani said that Anglo was now looking to “enhance the demand for our products” by becoming an active marketer of the commodities it produces. In particular, he said the FTSE 100 miner would look to promote new uses for platinum, used in catalytic converters and jewellery, such as in fuel cells for cars. Continue Reading →