Despite challenges in platinum group metal (PGM) production like labor strikes, mine shutdown and safety stoppages, the annual worldwide production of these metals still reaches over 8 million ounces.
The production of platinum is largely concentrated and these ore basins are from the world’s largest producer of platinum which will be listed down in this article.
As of 2012 statistics, Anglo American Platinum Limited (Amplats) remained to be the largest producer of platinum in the world with a total production of 2,378,600 ounces. Their assets include 11 managed mines and several joint-ventured mines across South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The ores from these mines are usually processed at one the company’s concentrators before it is sent to any of the three refineries in South Africa for smelting.
The operations of Impala Platinum (Implats) are concentrated within the Bushveld Complex in South Africa and the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe. Smelting and refinery of the metal is done by Impala Refining Services at the company’s ore including the materials bought from suppliers. Its main operational hub is on the western branch of the complex near the city of Rustenburg.
On the eastern limb, the company owns a 37 percent stake in Marula. It has its satellite unit in Zimbabwe, Zimplats, and takes its interest in Mimosa Platinum.
As the second largest producer of platinum, it supplies 1,582,000 ounces globally.
In 1909, this company used to be incorporated as the London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company Ltd. (Lonrho). The Marikina mine being its main hub of operations is situated on the western area of the Bushveld Complex. It produces a total refined platinum production of 687,372 ounces.
The extracted ore is processed at their own refinery processing where base metals like nickel and copper are removed before goes through the purifying stages of refined metal alongside the other PGMs
MMC Norilsk Nickel (Norilsk) is the largest producer of both nickel and palladium worldwide, supplying 17 percent of nickel production and 41 percent of palladium globally. It is also one of the top ten producers of copper. Their platinum production as well as other PGMs is extracted as by-product of their main productions of base metals.
These are mined from Russia in Taimyr and Kola Peninsulas and some are mined in South Africa ad Botswana. Its platinum production reaches 683,000 ounces. As Russia’s largest mining company, it also extracts other precious metals like silver, cobalt and selenium as by-products.
Aquarius Platinum Ltd
This mining company has its mining operations conducted in South Africa and in Zimbabwe, two of which are presently producing. Kroondal mine is located in Bushveld Complex (South Africa) and the Mimosa mine is in Great Dyke, Zimbabwe.
The company has two metallurgical concentrator plants located in the area where extracted ore is sent. It produces a total of 418,461 ounces of platinum.
Northam is a PGM mining production company holding operations near the Bushveld Complex in South Africa.
As of 2012, it has produced 175,000 ounces of platinum metal. Its main facility is the Zondereinde platinum mine and metallurgical complex where it extracts an estimate of 300,000 ounces of PGM concentrate yearly.
Stillwater Mining Company
This company is one of the two main producers of palladium worldwide. Its main operations is at the 28-mile stretch J-M Reef ore deposit in Montana, containing basically of palladium, platinum and a small amount of rhodium. It has two underground mines currently operating at East Boulder and Stillwater, just along J-M Reef.
Its ore concentrates and extracts from the mine, including the catalyst materials to be recycled, are processed at their smelter in Columbus, Montana. It has produced 154,900 ounces of refined platinum since 2012.
This mining company is the second largest in the world, the world’s number one producer of iron and pellets, and the second largest producer of nickel worldwide. Last 2012, it has supplied 134,000 ounces of platinum production.
Just like other nickel-producing companies, Vale SA also extracts platinum as by-product of its nickel refinery.
In 2013, Xstrata merged with Glencore and became GlencoreXstrata, but prior to the merger, Xtrata’s PGM mining operations was based on two mine sites in South Africa, Eland and Mototolo mines. Its production was a by-product of its nickel operations in Canada.
Mototolo mine was a joint venture with Anglo Platinum and accounted for roughly 60,000 ounces of refined platinum in 2012. As of the same year, it produced an estimated total of 80,199 ounces in platinum production.
Asahi Holdings, Inc.
This Japan-based mining company produced about 75,000 ounces of platinum or 10.6 billion yen for 2012, basing on the market price of that same year.
The company does more than mining and refining. It also recycles precious minerals for use in electronics, as catalytic converter, dentistry, photography and jewelry production.