Mining giants in $4.4bn platinum JV
Russia is on track to overtake South Africa as the world’s largest platinum producer after its two mining giants Norislk Nickel and Russian Platinum this week announced that they are to invest $4.4bn in a joint venture to develop some of the richest known precious metals deposits on Siberia’s Taimyr Peninsula.
The deposits contain proven ore reserves of 4,300 tonnes of platinum and palladium , they said, and the JV will hold three mining licenses to deposits in the Norilsk Industrial District in the Krasnoyarsk region. The deposits are close to each other, creating “one of the world’s largest clusters for the production of platinum and palladium,” according to Musa Bazhaev, president of Russian Platinum.
The joint venture will start operations at the end of this year and is targeting eventual annual production of 70 to 100 tonnes of platinum and palladium starting in 2020, he added, reversing a trend that saw output drop last year and set to do the same in 2018 , largely due to South African production falling due to mine closures.
After hitting a seven-year low in 2016, platinum prices rose by 5% the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) reported last November – but lagged palladium, which jumped by 45% overtaking platinum for the first time since 2001.
Both metals are used in the vehicle industry for emissions-cutting catalytic converters but platinum is used more in diesel engines which have fallen out of favour following the Volkswagen emissions scandal in 2015. It is also increasingly used in jewellery with double-digit growth in India and a stable market in China expected to drive demand up by 3% this the first rise since 2014, while a rebound in demand from the petroleum and glass sectors is projected to raise industrial usage by 9%.