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Challenges face platinum industry

Platinum Mining Industry

Platinum Mining Industry

Pretoria – Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, the Mining Industry Growth and Development Task Team (MIGDETT) and the Chief Executives of the Platinum Group metals (PGMs) mining companies met this week to thrash out challenges facing the industry.

The meeting, which was a follow up on the June meeting, considered a report from the MIGDETT Platinum Task Team (PTT) which had been established to consider the challenges facing the Platinum Group metals mining sector.

The task team had identified interventions that could assist the sector in the short term and position it along a sustainable growth trajectory in the medium to long term.

According to a statement issued by the ministry after the meeting, the short to medium term interventions being developed and interrogated include the commitment to working together to explore mechanisms of cost reduction, for the purpose of improving the viability of the industry and protecting jobs.

There are also suggestions to support increased domestic downstream value addition to PGMs as a means of generating demand for platinum while supporting the objectives of the national beneficiation strategy.

Others include the commitment to exploring other applications and demand drivers of platinum and the commitment to not compromising safety and health standards in efforts to reduce costs.

For long term, the parties have further committed to a programme that will investigate strategies for sustainable growth in the PGM industry to support growth and job creation through competitiveness interventions, skills development, increased levels of PGM beneficiation and the diversification of PGM applications and demand drivers.

The stakeholders further reiterated their support for further constructive engagement on challenges facing the South African PGM industry.

Initially, some of the challenges identified by the PTT are: the supply and demand imbalance that has resulted in surplus platinum on the market further exacerbated by the increased availability of scrap and recycled metal; the low price of PGMs; the substitution of platinum by palladium and the declining competitiveness of the PGM mining sector.

As a starting point, parties to the PTT have agreed that all measures to support the industry will be explored before retrenchments.

They have also committed through this process to limit the number of jobs to be lost, in the short term, and to lay the basis for sustainable growth, competitiveness and labour absorption in the long term. –

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