Dating back to as early as 600 BC, South Americans near modern-day Ecuador used artefacts made of a white gold-platinum alloy as it occurred naturally in the alluvial sands of various rivers. The material was unknown to the masses for a long time before scientists began to trace its origins. The material was investigated by the scientists only when Antonio de Ulloa, a Spanish general published a report of a new metal of Columbian origin in the 17th Century. Since then, the metal has come to be used widely in modern-day applications like in catalytic converters in automobiles, dentistry, jewellery, laboratory equipment, thermometers, etc. The metal is extremely rare in origin and valuable as it has a concentration of occurrence of only 0.005 ppm (parts per million) in the Earth‘s crust.
When it comes to platinum mining, Africa leads in world’s mining production with almost 78% of the world supply coming from South Africa. This is followed by Zimbabwe and Botswana. As in 2017, the annual production of platinum in South Africa stood at almost 200 tonnes. The largest concentration of platinum mines in South Africa is in the Limpopo province, followed by the North West province with second-largest concentration. Most of these mines come under the Bushveld Complex, which hosts a large quantity of platinum group metal (PGM) ore reserves. A few prominent platinum mines in South Africa are:
- Pilanesberg Platinum Mine — The mine is owned by the Sedibelo Platinum Mines Ltd, a public company incorporated in Guernsey. It consists mainly the West Pit which is operational and the East Pit which is due to be commissioned in future.
- Kroondal Platinum Mine in Kroondal, Rustenburg — It is a large open-pit mine having estimated reserves of over 6 million oz of platinum. It produces more than 200000 oz of platinum annually. The mine is owned by Sibayne Stillwater.
- Bathopele Mine in Rustenburg — This is one of the largest platinum mines with reserves of up to 5.3 million oz and an annual production of more than 3 million tonnes of platinum. The mine is owned by Anglo American, a global mining company having 100% stakes, and extends to an area of 17 km sq.
- Anglo American Platinum (Mogalakwena) Mine — This mine was established in 1993 and is being owned by Anglo American with having entire 100% stakes on it. The mine has an annual production capacity of more than 400000 oz of platinum.
- Marikana Platinum Mine, Rustenburg — The mine is spread over an area of 33 km sq. and was commissioned in 2002. The mine is owned jointly by Anglo American Platinum (AQPSA) and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), both having 50% shares and operating on a pooling-and-sharing (PSA) agreement deal, which was signed in 2005. It has an approximately 1.5 million oz of mineral reserves. The annual production capacity of the mine is more than 50000 oz of platinum.
With regular updations in the platinum mining projects taken up by various governmental and non-governmental authorities verified by professional research teams and mining intelligence provided in real-time with detailed graphs and advanced statistical reporting, it has become easy and lucrative for businesses to extend their portfolio in platinum mining in Africa. The various African Embassies in New Delhi, India and through our on-ground team stationed in the continent, you can get easy support with gathering more information on how to go about investing in the sector.