Top Platinum- and Palladium-producing Countries in 2016

These are 2016's top platinum- and palladium-producing countries.

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Platinum-group metals (PGMs) include platinum, palladium, rhodium and other metals, and are prized for their durability, resistance to corrosion and excellent catalytic properties. These characteristics make PGMs useful in everything from jewelry to electronics.

Today, the automotive industry is the world’s largest consumer of these metals, which are used in catalytic converters for vehicle exhaust systems. Automotive production is expected to climb in the coming years, particularly in developing markets, and that is expected to ensure healthy demand for PGMs into the future.

But where do platinum and palladium come from? The list of the world’s top platinum- and palladium-producing countries is a short one — most PGMs come from South Africa and Russia, though there are a few other countries that produce the metals. Below is a list of the five top platinum- and palladium-producing countries in 2016, as per data from the US Geological Survey.

1. South Africa

Platinum production: 120,000 kilograms

Palladium production: 73,000 kilograms

South Africa is the world’s top producer of platinum and a major producer of palladium. It holds the largest-known reserves of PGMs globally at 63 million kilograms, and currently extracts 75 percent of planet’s platinum.

In the third quarter of 2016, total refined platinum supply from South Africa declined 4 percent, to 1.16 million ounces, due to several safety stoppages, including a fire and three fall-of-ground incidents, the World Platinum Investment Council says. After two quarters of refined stock sales to cover unexpected mine strikes, producers replenished their inventory by 105,000 ounces. Moody’s Investors Service has said that South Africa’s platinum industry should see some stability in 2017.

2. Russia

Platinum production: 23,000 kilograms

Palladium production: 82,000 kilograms

Despite being the world’s second-biggest platinum producer, Russia’s annual production trails South Africa’s by a large margin. That said, Russia is responsible for the majority of the world’s palladium production, and has a significant impact on the global market.

In the first half of 2016, a fund set up by Russia’s Norilsk Nickel (MCX:GMKN) bought about 90,000 ounces of palladium. Norilsk Nickel is the world’s largest palladium producer, and it created the fund to develop relations with holders of existing metal stockpiles. Most recently, the company announced that in 2017 it plans to produce 2.6 to 2.7 million ounces of palladium and 581,000 to 645,000 ounces of platinum from Russian feedstock.

3. Zimbabwe

Platinum production: 13,000 kilograms

Palladium production: 10,000 kilograms

In 2013, Obert Mpofu, Zimbabwe’s mines minister, introduced new royalty requirements on unrefined PGMs being sent outside the country. These royalties were designed to encourage in-country processing of PGMs. Zimbabwe continues to pursue the goal of increasing PGMs refining, but remains a difficult operating environment for international organizations looking to benefit from the country’s PGMs reserves.

Zimplats (ASX:ZIM) is the biggest platinum producer in the country. It is 87-percent owned by South Africa’s Impala Platinum Holdings (JSE:IMP), and owns a total of 48,535 hectares in mining claims. Most recently, the company received notice that the government wants to seize some of that land and distribute it to new companies. The company’s profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2016 came to $21 million, a 28-percent increase, thanks to higher platinum matte sales.

4. Canada

Platinum production: 9,000 kilograms

Palladium production: 23,000 kilograms

Canada’s strong palladium production makes it a global player in the PGMs market. The country only holds 310,000 kilograms of known PGMs reserves — less than half the total reserves of other countries on this list — but companies continue to explore for PGMs in Canada in hopes of discovering more deposits. In 2015, Canada upped its palladium production from 21,000 to 23,000 kilograms.

North American Palladium (NYSEMKT:PAL) is one of only two primary palladium producers in the world. Its flagship mine is Lac des Iles, located in Ontario; it has been in production since 1993. In the third quarter of 2016, the company produced 33,165 ounces of payable palladium, considerably lower than the previous year’s 57,914 ounces.

5. United States

Platinum production: 3,900 kilograms

Palladium production: 13,200 kilograms

Stillwater Mining Company (NYSE:SWC) is the only producer of PGMs in the US. It owns the Stillwater and East Boulder mines. Together, these mines were responsible for almost $390 million worth of metals production in 2016, as per the US Geological Survey. The company also maintains a smelter, refinery and laboratory in Montana and recovers PGMs from spent catalyst material.

Palladium was a big winner after the 2016 US election, with Trump’s promises to support economic growth boosting its price. Expectations of growth in China also helped its performance.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on the Investing News Network on March 30, 2016.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


This article is updated each year. Please scroll to the top for the most recent information.

Platinum-group metals (PGMs), including platinum, palladium, rhodium and other metals, are prized for their durability, resistance to corrosion and excellent catalytic properties. These characteristics make PGMs useful in everything from jewelry to electronics.

Today, the automotive industry is the world’s largest consumer of these metals, which are used in catalytic converters for vehicle exhaust systems. Automotive production is expected to climb in coming years, particularly in developing markets, and that is expected to ensure healthy demand for the metals into the future.

But where do platinum and palladium come from? To be sure, the list of the world’s top platinum-producing countries is a short one, as is the list of those putting out strong amounts of palladium.

While the lion’s share of the world’s PGMs are produced in South Africa and Russia, there are a few other countries that chip into platinum and palladium production as well. Here are the five top platinum-producing countries for 2015, according to data from the US Geological Survey.

1. South Africa 

Platinum production: 125,000 kilograms

Palladium production: 73,000 kilograms

South Africa is the world’s top platinum-producing country, and holds the largest-known reserves of PGMs globally. With 63 million kilograms of PGMs in reserve, South Africa is equipped to remain a top platinum producer. Currently, the country extracts 78 percent of planet’s platinum, according to the Chamber of Mines of South Africa.

In the third quarter of 2016, total refined supply from South Africa declined 4% to 1,160 koz, due to several safety stoppages, including a fire and a fall-of-ground in three separate occasions, as reported by the World Platinum Investment Council. After two quarters of refined stock sales to cover unexpected mine strikes, producers replenished their inventory by 105 koz. Moody’s Investors Service said that thanks to the new three-year wage deal in place, South Africa’s platinum industry should see some stability in the next year.

2. Russia

Platinum production: 23,000 kilograms

Palladium production: 80,000 kilograms

Despite being the world’s second-biggest platinum producer, Russia’s annual production trails South Africa’s by a large margin. However, Russia is responsible for the majority of the world’s palladium production, and has a significant impact on the global market.

Russia also experienced a drop by 8% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2016. A reorganization of processing facilities and a planned refinery closure resulted in a decline of refined production.

In the first half of 2016, Russia’s Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest palladium producer, bought about 90,000 troy ounces of palladium after creating the Global Palladium Fund to develop relations with holders of existing metal stockpiles.

3. Zimbabwe

Platinum production: 11,000 kilograms

Palladium production: 10,000 kilograms

In 2013, Obert Mpofu, Zimbabwe’s mines minister, introduced new royalty requirements on unrefined PGMs being sent outside the country. These royalties were designed to encourage in-country processing of PGMs.

Zimbabwe continues to pursue the goal of increasing PGMs refining, but remains a difficult operating environment for international organizations looking to benefit from the country’s PGMs reserves. Most recently, Deutsche Welle reported that the government in Zimbabwe is cracking down on foreign companies that have failed to comply with the country’s controversial indigenization law. Companies operating in Zimbabwe are required to “cede at least 51 percent to promote black ownership and correct imbalances from the colonial era,” according to the publication.

4. Canada

Platinum production: 9,000 kilograms

Palladium production: 24,000 kilograms

Canada’s strong palladium production makes it a global player in the PGMs market. The country only holds 310,000 kilograms of known PGMs reserves — less than half the total reserves of other countries on this list — but companies continue to explore for PGMs in Canada in hopes of discovering more deposits. In 2015, Canada upped its palladium production from 20,000 to 24,000 kilograms.

In a research note earlier this year, analysts at INTL FCStone said that the jump in prices during the second half of 2016 suggests that platinum and palladium are starting to look more attractive to investors and as a result they are taking money out of gold to invest in these precious metals.

5. United States

Platinum production: 3,700 kilograms

Palladium production: 12,500 kilograms

Stillwater Mining Company (NYSE:SWC) is the only producer of PGMs in the US. It owns the Stillwater and East Boulder mines. Together, these mines were responsible for almost $532 million worth of metals production in 2015, as per the US Geological Survey. The company also maintains a smelter, refinery and laboratory in Montana and recovers PGMs from spent catalyst material.

Palladium was a big winner after the 2016 US election, with an increased demand for the precious metal. In the last quarter, prices rose due to expectations of economic growth in the US and China as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on the Investing News Network on March 30, 2016.

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Comments
  • Well in near future where do we apply palladium and Pt out of auto industries once the auto will be electrc? do you think that it will mandatory in ship vessels, or any combustion engine consuming gas or diesel ?

    Reply

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