Investing in African Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. PHOTO: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

CAPE TOWN  - The South African economy has benefited significantly from Platinum Group Metals (PGM) which has produced 221 million ounces of PGMs valued at R1.2 trillion (US$170 billion) between 1980 and 2015.

The profits generated from the sale of PGMs were distributed to multiple stakeholders, mainly across the South African economy, over that period. This was revealed at a media briefing on the National Platinum Strategy for South Africa at the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday. The media briefing was hosted by the Minerals Council, led by chief executive Roger Baxter, and Anglo American Platinum chief executive, Chris Griffith.

According to the Minerals Council, the PGM sector developed into one of the largest components of the mining industry. It is the largest mining employer and remains a significant export revenue earner.

“Its development, investment and transformation footprint on the economy is significant and in 2018, the PGM sector produced around 259 tonnes of platinum, exported around 89 percent  of the metals produced, earned around R96 billion in revenue, employed around 168,000 people directly, paid employees R48 billion in earnings, and contributed R0.9 billion in royalties,” the Council said in a statement.

“However, the sector is in crisis. Over the past five years, it has struggled with an oversupplied market, a function of structural changes in global supply and demand fundamentals, including increased growth in recycling, flat new-mine supply and weaker demand, domestic labour strife, declining productivity and rapidly escalating costs.”

The National Platinum Strategy for South Africa, developed by the Platinum Leadership Forum which comprises platinum producing members of the Minerals Council, is aimed at addressing the current crisis, preventing further erosion of the economic capacity of the industry and ensuring that the world’s largest PGM resource realises its full value through the addition of more than 1 million jobs and a contribution of R8.2 trillion to South Africa’s economy by 2050.

The Council said that achieving the aims of the National Platinum Strategy would require collaboration between all stakeholders, involving urgent and bold action by the South African government in the form of support which will allow the PGM sector to tackle short term challenges while at the same time investing in the long-term future.

“At the same time, a concerted and co-ordinated effort by the public and private sector, supported by the framework of a national strategy, is essential to enhance the short-term and prevent the long-term opportunity from being squandered.”

- African News Agency (ANA)