Heraeus investment in Northam Platinum’s state-of-the-art platinum smelter in South Africa strengthens its global supplier network

Johannesburg, South Africa, February 15, 2018

  • Partnership reflects Heraeus commitment to expand its leadership position in precious metals suppliers and life cycle services
Welcoming the commissioning of the new smelting furnace: André Christl, President Heraeus Precious Metals and Paul Dunne, CEO Northam Platinum Source: Heraeus

Continuing a partnership that was first forged in 1988, Heraeus Precious Metals, the world’s leader in precious metals lifecycle services, joined executives from Northam Platinum to celebrate the opening of Northam’s new state-of-the-art smelter at the group’s Zondereinde mine in the province of Limpopo.

The new smelter, which significantly expands Northam’s capabilities at Zondereinde, is part of a twenty-year extension agreement the two companies signed in 2015. The new furnace incorporates a number of advances in the area of PGM smelting. These include extended refractory lining life expectancy, metal containment and cooling, along with best practice in terms of monitoring, tapping and furnace control functions.

Under the terms of the agreement, Heraeus invested an additional €20 million to Northam’s smelter expansion project and would continue to refine Northam’s PGM concentrates and purchase up to 40% of Northam’s refined precious metals. The joint agreement provides Northam with expanded refining capacity and long-term, predictable sales through a guaranteed distribution channel. For Heraeus, the extended cooperation with Northam enables the company to provide their worldwide customers with a secure and dependable access to Platinum for the next 20 years.

The partnership with Northam helps solidify Heraeus Precious Metals as the world’s leading provider of industrial precious metals services across the entire precious metals lifecycle. With refining and recycling capacities in the US, Europe, South-Africa, India and China, the company covers the entire precious metals loop, including sourcing, trading, risk management, logistics, recycling and processing for critical industries, including catalysts, bonding wires, pharmaceuticals and others.

Commenting on the operation of Northam’s new smelter, Heraeus Precious Metals President André Christl said, “We believe that to compete and succeed, it comes down to a simple formula: investment and innovation.” But according to Christl, while the company has embarked on significant capital expansion efforts, including a state-of-the-art precious metals factory in Nanjing, China and becoming majority owner of Argor Heraeus in Switzerland in 2017, success cannot be achieved in isolation. He added, “As Heraeus Precious Metals grows, we want to partner with and invest in companies that share that same ambition. Northam Platinum has demonstrated that for the past thirty years, and we’re delighted this agreement puts our partnership on the path to a 50-year golden anniversary in 2038.”