01Norilsk Nickel - 2,731,000 ozs
MMC Norilsk Nickel ("Norilsk") is the world's largest producer of nickel (accounting for 17 percent of global production) and palladium (41 percent), and a top ten producer of copper. The company extracts precious and platinum group metals as by-products from its mines on the Taimyr and Kola Peninsulas (both in Russia) as well as from mines in Botswana and South Africa. Norilsk, Russia's largest mining company, also extracts and refines cobalt, silver, gold, tellurium, and selenium as by-products.
Company Profile: Norilsk Nickel
Company Website: Norilsk Nickel
02Anglo Platinum - 1,395,000 ozs
The assets of Anglo American Platinum Limited (Amplats) consist of 11 managed mines, as well as a number of joint-venture mines and associated mines across South Africa and in Zimbabwe. Most of the ore from these mines are processed at one of Amplats' 14 own concentrators before being smelted at one of the company's three refineries in South Africa. Although total refined palladium production fell from 1.43 million in 2011 ounces to 1.395 million ounces in 2012, Amplats remained the world's second largest producer of the metal.
Company Profile: Anglo American plc
Company Website: Anglo American
03Impala Platinum - 1,020,000 ozs
Impala Platinum's (Implats) operations are focused around the Bushveld Complex in South Africa and the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe. The company's primary operational unit is on the western limb of the Complex near Rustenburg. Implats also owns a 73 percent stake in Marula on the eastern limb. In Zimbabwe, the company operates Zimplats and has an interest in Mimosa Platinum.
Impala Refining Services (IRS) smelts and refines the metal from the company's own ore as well as material purchased from third-party companies.
04Lonmin PLC - 331,000 ozs
Lonmin was initially incorporated as the London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company Ltd. (Lonrho) in 1909. The company's primary operations - the Marikana mine - is located on the western limb of the Bushveld complex. Ore extracted by Lonmin is sent to Lonmin's process division where base metals, including copper and nickel, are extracted before it is refined to metal along with other platinum group metals, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, and iridium.
Company website: Lonmin PLC
05Stillwater Mining - 258,000 ozs
Stillwater Mining Company is one of only two primary palladium producers in the world. The company's main assets are located along the 28-mile-long J-M Reef ore body in Montana, which consists primarily of palladium, platinum and a minor amount of rhodium. Stillwater Mining Company operates two underground mines - East Boulder and Stillwater - along the J-M Reef. Concentrates from the mine sites, along with crushed catalyst material for recycling, are processed at the company’s smelter in Columbus, Montana.
Company Website: Still Water Mining
06Vale SA - 251,000 ozs
Vale SA is the world's largest second-largest mining company, the leading producer of iron ore and pellets and the world's second-biggest nickel producer. As many nickel ores also contain PGMs, Vale can extract palladium as a by-product of its nickel refining process. The company takes PGM containing concentrates from its Sudbury, Canada operations to a processing facility in Port Colborne, Ontario, which produces PGMs, gold, and silver intermediate products. These, along with recyclable and toll treated materials from unrelated parties, are sent to Vale's refinery in Acton, England, where they are processed into high-purity products.
07Aquarius Platinum - 238,000 ozs
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. has interests in seven properties in South Africa and Zimbabwe, two of which are currently producing. The Kroondal and Mimosa mines are, respectively, located in the Bushveld Complex (South Africa) and Great Dyke (Zimbabwe). Ore is sent to two metallurgical concentrator plants situated on the property, which have a combined monthly capacity of 570,000 tons. Aquarius also owns a 91.7 percent stake in Platinum Mile, a tailing retreatment facility on Amplats Rustenburg Mine where ores tailings can be processed and concentrated.
Company website: Aquarius Platinum
08North American Palladium - 163,000 ozs
North American Palladium, along with Stillwater Mining, are the only primary palladium producers in the world. The company operates the Lac des Iles (LDI) mine, located in northern Ontario, which began production in 1993. The LDI mine is currently undergoing expansion with North American Palladium targeting a production level of 250,000 ounces of palladium per year after completion.
Company website: North Aquarium Palladium
09Northam - 96,000 ozs
Northam is an integrated PGM producer with operations in focused around the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. The company's primary facility is the wholly-owned Zondereinde platinum mine and metallurgical complex, which extracts roughly 300,000 ozs of PGM concentrate annually. Booysendal, Northam's second mine, is at an advanced stage of construction and is expected to produce an additional 160,000 ozs of contained PGMs when fully operational. Toll refining for PGM concentrate takes place under contract with WC Heraeus (Germany) and is delivered on a weekly basis to Heraeus' Hanau facility where platinum, palladium, rhodium, gold, silver, ruthenium and iridium are all separated. Working with Heraeus, Northam also refines and markets PGMs extracted from Platmin's Pilanesberg Mine.
Company Website: Northam
10Xstrata - 43,000 ozs
Before merging with Glencore to become GlencoreXstrata in 2013, Xstrata's PGM business was based on two PGM mines in South Africa and material produced as by-products from its Canadian nickel operations. The Eland and Mototolo mines - the latter a joint venture with Anglo Platinum - are located along the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex. Motolo accounted for about 60,000 ozs of Xstrata's refined platinum production in 2012, while only recently have the two shafts at Eland commenced production. These are targeted to reach full capacity in 2018. Xstrata also extracts PGMs from its nickel sulfide ores in the Sudbury Basin, in Canada.
Company Website: Xstrata
Follow Terence on Google+
The Biggest Palladium Producers
The world's top ten palladium producers
Although total primary refined palladium output was around 6.54 million ounces in 2012, record demand for palladium autocatalysts and increased investment demand pushed the market into deficit for the year.
During 2012, overall global palladium supply fell by 11 percent to its lowest level since 2002. It was partly due to a three percent drop in Russian output due to declining ore grades and a nine percent drop in South Africa palladium supply resulting from strikes and work stoppages.
The production statistics below are compiled from company annual and operation reports available from producer websites (based on individual corporate fiscal year 2012 production numbers). Refined platinum production numbers for each company can be found beside the company's name.