JOHANNESBURG - The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has said that it was working with the Minerals Council and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to develop a platinum coin.
"Prestige Bullion, a subsidiary of the South African Mint is working closely with the Minerals Council and relevant departments towards the development of the platinum coin,” a SARB spokesperson said.
She said the expected date for launch would be announced closer to the time.
The council, which represents 90 percent of the country’s mining industry, and the Platinum Leadership Forum (PLF) have been lobbying government to adopt a Vat–free legal tender platinum bullion coin, such as a Mandela Platinum Rand to drive demand.
The PLF was established by the council and is driven by senior executives that include Anglo American Platinum, African Rainbow Minerals, Impala Platinum, Ivanplats, Lonmin, Northam Platinum, Royal Bafokeng Platinum, Sibanye-Stillwater, Siyanda Resources and Tharisa.
The council said in its 2018 annual review that it believed achieving just 10 percent of the success of the gold Krugerrand would create five million ounces of demand including investment, industrial and jewelry.
It said the market size for platinum group metals (PGMs) would be increased to become a US$35 billion a sector by 2050, from the current $9 billion.
“So the economic and transformational potential of PGMs is profound and possibly game-changing for South Africa. If we can realize the potential of the world’s largest PGM resource, more than 1 million extra jobs and a contribution of R8.2 trillion to South Africa’s economy by 2050 are possible,” the council said in the annual review.
South Africa has 69 000 tonnes of known platinum reserves accounting for 87 percent of known world reserves.
“The only way that the full economic and transformational potential of these deposits can be realised is if stakeholders work together to grow global demand for platinum, “said the council.
PGM has been fending off rising input costs, such as labor, electricity, and supplies, which have increased at rates exceeding inflation. Until a year ago, revenue from metal sales had been declining due to low PGM commodity prices.
However the tide has turned in the last eight months as the PGM basket price, driven by palladium and rhodium and a weaker rand, has exceeded average industry costs.
The industry is also grappling with the substitution of platinum out of gasoline auto-catalytic converters. While recycling has increased fourfold to more than 2 million ounces, from approximately 500 000 ounces lessening demand for mined platinum. Auto-catalyst demand for platinum continues to decline on the back of anti-diesel sentiment in Europe.