A Look at Platinum Mining in Russia

- August 20th, 2013

Russia is the second-largest platinum producer in the world. Here’s a look at a few companies mining the precious metal.

As of 2012, Russia is the second-largest producer of platinum in the world, with 26,000 kilograms per year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It comes only second to South Africa, which produced 128,000 kg of the metal in 2012. Overall, Russia has PGM reserves of 1,100,000 kg.

In Russia, platinum is generally found in assets among other platinum-group elements. PGEs have been mined in the country for centuries. According to The Platinum Metals Review, approximately 20 percent of the platinum mined in Russia comes from alluvial deposits. The majority of the reserves are located in the Russian Far East and the Ural Mountains.

A recent report from the U.S. Geological Survey estimated Russia’s platinum mining capacity will grow by 9,000 kg between 2011 and 2015.

Below is a list of three companies that contribute to Russia’s platinum production.

MMC Norilsk Nickel (OTCMKTS:NILSY)
Almost all of the platinum produced in Russia comes from Norilsk Nickel. According to its website, the company is the largest producer of nickel and palladium (a PGE) and also one of the top sources of platinum and copper. It primarily works in the prospecting, extraction, defining and metallurgical processing of minerals, though Norilsk Nichel also produces, markets and sells base and precious metals.

Norilsk Nickel is divided into two vertically integrated units, the Polar Division and the Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company. Its assets are located in the Taimyr Peninsula and the Kola Peninsula. The Polar Division is located above the Polar Circle and is composed of seven mines. Platinum is extracted from the ores that are mined, in addition to commodities like palladium, cobalt and gold.

According to The Platinum Metals Review, Norilsk Nickel’s PGE output is primarily a by-product of nickel and copper mining, so its activity is heavily dependent on the base metals mining industry in Russia.

Russian Platinum, PLC

The exploration, mining, production and refining company works with platinum-group metals in the Russian Federation. According to its website, Russian Platinum is one of the leading PGM producers in the world. Its main platinum assets are the Kondyor Mine in Khabarovsk, located in the Russian Far East, and the Chernogorskoye Mine, which is located in the Norilsk area and currently under development.

Combined, the two deposits have an estimated 16,363 kilogram ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, the first three of which are PGMs. In 2011, Russian Platinum produced more than 121,336 ounces of platinum.

Eurasia Mining PLC (LSE:EUA)
Eurasia Mining is based in London and is an international mineral exploration company. Although not headquartered in Russia, Eurasia has spent almost 15 years focusing on developing alluvial and hard-rock PGM assets in Russia. Currently, it has two projects in the development stage: West Kytlim in the Central Urals and Monchetundra in the Kola Peninsula.

According to a report from April 2013, West Kytlim has 1,689 kg of raw platinum reserves. The Monchetundra project has not been fully assessed, but preliminary research “proves the potential of the structure for platinum group mineralisation,” according to the company website. Eurasia also worked in the Kola Peninsula on a joint venture with Anglo Platinum (OTCMKTS:AGPPY) in 2008.

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