The 10 Biggest Platinum Producers

The Top Platinum Metal Producers in the World

Despite platinum group metal (PGM) production being plagued by work disruptions due to strikes, safety stoppages and mine closures in 2012, annual global production still exceeded 8 million ounces (ozs). 

Much like platinum ores in the earth's crust, the production of platinum metal is highly concentrated, with the four largest refiners accounting for 67 percent of total platinum production in 2012. Anglo Platinum, alone, produced nearly 40 percent of all primary refined platinum and roughly 30 percent of total global production.

Production statistics are compiled from company annual and operation reports available from producer websites (fiscal year 2012). Refined platinum production numbers for each company can be found beside the company's name and are indicated in ounces. 

1
Anglo Platinum - 2,378,600 ozs

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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 platinum production fell from 2011, Amplats, by far, remained the world's largest producer of the metal. 

Company Profile: Anglo American plc
Company Website: www.angloamerican.com/

2
Impala Platinum - 1,582,000 ozs

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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.

Company Profile: Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd.
Company Website: www.implats.co.za

3
Lonmin plc - 687,372 ozs

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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: www.lonmin.com

4
Norilsk Nickel - 683,000 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: www.nornik.ru/en

5
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. - 418,461 ozs

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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 Rustenberg Mine where ores tailings can be processed and concentrated.

Company website: http://aquariusplatinum.com

6
Northam / Hereaus - 175,000ozs

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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 Pilansberg Mine.

Company Website: http://www.northam.co.za/

7
Stillwater Mining Company - 154,900 ozs

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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: www.stillwatermining.com

8
Vale SA - 134,000 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 is able to extract platinum 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.  

Company Profile: Vale SA
Company Website: http://www.vale.com/

9
Xstrata - 80,199 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 Xtrata'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: www.glencorexstrata.com

10
Asahi Holdings, Inc. - 75,000 ozs (est.)

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While many large, independent refiners of PGMs do not release data on the quantity of individual metals refined each year, Japan-based Asahi Holding provides some guidance in its 2012 Annual Report. The company, which reports platinum production valued at 10.6 billion yen for the year - or about 75,000 oz of the metal, based on 2012 market prices - collects, refines and recycles precious and rare metals used in electronics, catalysts, dentistry, jewelry and photography. 

Company Website: www.asahiholdings.com

Notes on Secondary PGM Refiners:

There are a number of independent refiners that purchase, recycle and toll treat platinum containing materials. Approximately one third of total annual platinum production is refined from recycled sources, meaning these companies account for a significant portion of supply. Many of these refiners also purchase PGM concentrate via offtake agreements with major miners, such as Amplats, in order to produce more value added materials, including auto-, petrochemical- and fuel cell catalysts. A list of companies involved in secondary production include Johnson Matthey, Hereaus, Metalor, Chimet, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Furuya Metal Co. Ltd., JX Nippon Mining and Metals and BASF Corporation.