Our market

The platinum and palladium markets were in deficit in 2013 as demand growth in automotive, jewellery and investment outpaced supply

Our market

South Africa is the world leader in platinum and PGM production, having produced around 4.7 million ounces of platinum and 7 million ounces of PGMs in 2013.

Implats supplies approximately 22% of the world's supply of primary Platinum.

Our metals

The six platinum group metals (PGMs) – platinum, palladium, rhodium, osmium, ruthenium and iridium – occur together in nature alongside nickel and copper.

Many of the unique properties of PGMs make them indispensable to modern technology and industry, their markets are many and varied, from the automotive industry to the medical field.

 

 

Emission standards

 

Metal usage

 
   
Catalytic Converters have been instrumental in reducing emissions of harmful gases from vehicles since their inception in response to the US Clean Air Act of 1970.
Read more
  Many of the unique characteristics of PGMs make them indispensable to modern technology and industry, their markets are many and varied, from the automotive industry to the medical field.
Read more
 
       
 
Platinum

Platinum

Platinum, a silvery-white metal and the most common and widely used of the platinum group metals (PGMs), is also one of the most precious metals. As with all of the PGMs but especially so in its case, platinum has many unique properties making it ideally suited to advanced technical applications.

As one of the densest and heaviest metals known to man, platinum is also extremely durable. It is also very malleable and ductile. Although it has a very high melting point (1,772°C), it is stable at extremely high temperatures. In addition to being resistant to corrosion and chemical attack, it is a very good conductor of electricity, is a powerful catalyzing agent and is recyclable. Platinum is primarily used in the jewellery and automotive industries, with the latter making use of its excellent catalytic properties.

Palladium

Palladium, together with platinum, is more abundant than any of the other PGMs. Like its sister metal, platinum, palladium has a natural white lustre when polished. It is the lightest and has the lowest melting point (1,554°C) of all the PGMs. Its most remarkable property is its ability to absorb enormous amounts of hydrogen at room temperature.

During this process the metal expands and becomes harder, stronger and less ductile, thus making it an efficient and safe medium for the storage of hydrogen and as a purifier. Given palladium's catalytic qualities, it too has a vital role in catalytic converters and in air purification equipment. Its chemical stability and excellent electrical conductivity make it a more effective and durable plating than gold in electronic components. It is most frequently used in alloys or as a catalyst and can be used as a substitute for platinum in jewellery, electrical contacts and catalysts.

Rhodium

Rhodium is also a silvery-white metal but has a higher melting point and lower density than platinum. It has a high reflectance and is hard and durable, and is a major component of industrial catalytic systems. Its primary use is in the automotive industry for the reduction of NOx to nitrogen.

Rhodium alloyed with other PGMs is used for furnace windings, thermocouple elements, bushings for glass fibre production, electrodes for aircraft spark plugs and laboratory crucibles. Rhodium is useful as an electrical contact material as it has a low electrical resistance, a low and stable contact resistance and is highly resistant to corrosion.

Nickel

Nickel, an important by-product of PGM mining operations, is a hard, silvery-white metal that is highly resistant to corrosion.

It is used extensively in coins and is a vital ingredient in the production of stainless steel. The stainless steel industry consumes approximately two thirds of nickel supply with the balance being used either in alloys or for electroplating.