General Information On Platinum.

This information is predominately from the USA. But is informative none the less.

(Platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, osmium)
(Data in kilograms unless otherwise noted)

Domestic Production and Use: The Stillwater and East Boulder Mines in south-central Montana are the onlyprimary platinum-group metals (PGMs) mines in the United States and were owned by one company. Small quantities of PGMs were also recovered as byproducts of copper refining by companies in Texas and Utah.

Catalysts for airpollution abatement continued to be the leading demand sector for PGMs. Catalysts were also used in other airpollution- abatement processes to remove organic vapors, odors, and carbon monoxide. Chemical uses include catalysts for organic synthesis, production of nitric acid, and fabrication of laboratory equipment. Platinum alloys, in cast or wrought form, are commonly used for jewelry. Platinum, palladium, and a variety of complex gold-silvercopper
alloys are used as dental restorative materials.

Salient Statistics—United States: 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006Mine production:
Platinum 4,390 4,170 4,040 3,920 4,000
Palladium 14,800 14,000 13,700 13,300 13,600

Recycling: An estimated 10,400 kilograms of PGMs was recovered from new and old scrap in 2006.

Import Sources (2002-05): Platinum:

South Africa, 41%; United Kingdom, 16%; Germany, 11%; Canada, 8%; and
other, 24%. Palladium: Russia, 37%; South Africa, 25%; United Kingdom, 14%; Belgium, 5%; and other, 19%.


Events, Trends, and Issues:

The desire for an alternative fuel for automobiles has led to a large global public and private effort to develop fuel cell technology.

Platinum is the catalyst used by fuel cells to convert hydrogen and oxygen to electricity.

Palladium will also likely play a role in the fuel cell. An increase in diesel car sales in Europe can be expected to cause a strong increase in use of platinum in the region in 2006 and beyond.

The tightening of emissions regulations in China, Europe, Japan, and other parts of the world is also expected to lead to higher average platinum loadings on catalysts, especially on light-duty diesel vehicles, as particulate matter emissions become more closely controlled.

In the United States, thrifting is continuing at most manufacturers and is likely to lead to a reduction in the use of platinum in autocatalysts. The price differential of almost $900 per troy ounce between platinum and palladium has led to the assumption that automobile manufacturers will change PGMs ratios on gasoline-engine vehicles in favor of palladium.

The sales of platinum jewelry are expected to drop worldwide as the price continues to be high and white gold and palladium are substituted for platinum.

In 2006, a wildfire caused a small disruption in production at the Stillwater and East Boulder Mines.

World Mine Production, Reserves, and Reserve Base:
Mine production PGMs
Platinum Palladium Reserves5 Reserve base52005 2006e 2005 2006e

United States 3,920 4,000 13,300 13,600 900,000 2,000,000
Canada 6,400 6,700 13,000 13,700 310,000 390,000
Colombia 1,080 1,000 NA NA 6NA 6NA
Russia 30,000 32,000 97,400 97,000 6,200,000 6,600,000
South Africa 169,000 172,000 84,900 87,000 63,000,000 70,000,000

Other countries 7,000 7,600 9,900 10,200 800,000 850,000

World total (rounded) 217,000 223,000 219,000 222,000 71,000,000 80,000,000

World Resources: World resources of PGMs in mineral concentrations that can be mined economically are estimated to total more than 100 million kilograms. The largest reserves are in the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. Substitutes.

Some motor vehicle manufacturers have substituted palladium for the more expensive platinum in catalytic converters.

Until recently, only platinum could be used in diesel catalytic converters; however, new technologies allow palladium to be used.

For most other end uses, PGMs can be substituted for other PGMs, with some losses in efficiency. In addition, electronic parts manufacturers are reducing the average palladium content of the conductive pastes used to form the electrodes of multilayer ceramic capacitors by substituting base metals or silver-palladium pastes that contain significantly less palladium.

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