PGE production in southern Africa, part 1: Production and market trends

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Abstract

Platinum group elements (PGEs) are an important resource for many applications, such as automotive catalytic converters for vehicles, jewelry, electrical devices and as catalysts in the chemical and petroleum industries. At present, the greatest share of global PGE supply is extracted from the South African Bushveld Complex and from the Zimbabwean Great Dyke. In this context, this article provides a comprehensive summary of detailed mining data between 2010 and 2015 and discusses these in regard to the global PGE market. On the supply side, the data reveal that the production volumes as well as the ore grades fluctuated in recent years, while the mining and processing of economically less favorable Upper Group 2 (UG2) ore increased. The average head grade from 2010 to 2015 was 3.58 g 6E/t. In the long term, the ore grades decreased. On the market side, PGE prices and increasing (primary) production costs can be observed. On the market side, the demand for vehicles is expected to grow globally resulting in an increase in PGE demand. At the same time, secondary production is expected to increase and will eventually compete with primary production. These findings indicate challenging conditions for the Southern African PGE industry.

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Thormann, L., Buchspies, B., Mbohwa, C., & Kaltschmitt, M. (2017). PGE production in southern Africa, part 1: Production and market trends. Minerals, 7(11). https://doi.org/10.3390/min7110224

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