German technology group Heraeus and South African Platinum Group Metal (PGM) producer Northam Platinum, Ltd. (Northam) today announced a comprehensive 20-year agreement to extend and expand their long-term partnership. As part of this new agreement, Heraeus will refine Northam’s PGM ore concentrates in its refinery in Port Elisabeth/South Africa and Hanau/Germany and will purchase up to 40% of the refined precious metals from Northam. The cooperation allows Heraeus to provide their customers with a secure, dependable access to Platinum Group Metals for the next 20 years.
The long-term access will also strengthen Heraeus’ position in offering integrated precious metal solutions including secure sourcing, products, refining and financial services to customers.
The new agreement with Heraeus provides Northam with a strong and reliable global partner for strengthened collaboration on various steps of the PGM value chain.
“We are very proud to intensify our partnership with our long-standing partner Northam. This agreement underlines our growth aspiration and will allow Heraeus to secure Precious Group metals for its customers and for our own products alike,” said Jan Rinnert, CEO of Heraeus.
The partnership between Heraeus and Northam dates back to the early 1990s. The South African company is one of the largest PGM mining companies in the world, accounting for around 5% of the world’s production.
Heraeus uses PGMs to produce catalysts for purifying exhaust emissions, Platinum-Rhodium gauzes and for chemical fertilizers for the production of silicon. The company also produces pharmaceutical ingredients containing platinum for chemotherapy drugs and medical technology applications to manufacture components for sensitive body implants. Serving the full cycle of industrial usage of PGMs, Heraeus is one of the biggest recycling companies for PGMs globally.
PGMs are important raw materials and are used in applications where strength and resistance to high temperatures and acidic environment are crucial. However, the global mining production of PGMs is very small. Around 400.000 Kg were only recovered in 2014, putting an intense emphasis on metal recycling. Approximately one third of the yearly global supply of PGM come from recycling activities. This practice saves resources and reduces costs for Heraeus’ customers, ensuring multiple usage in different industries.
Heraeus, the technology group headquartered in Hanau, Germany, is a leading international family-owned company formed in 1851. With expertise, a focus on innovations, operational excellence and an entrepreneurial leadership, we strive to continuously improve our business performance. We create high-quality solutions for our clients and strengthen their competitiveness in the long term by combining material expertise with technological know-how. Our ideas are focused on themes such as the environment, energy, health, mobility and industrial applications. Our portfolio ranges from components to coordinated material systems which are used in a wide variety of industries, including the steel, electronics, chemical, automotive and telecommunications industries. In the 2014 financial year, Heraeus generated product revenues of €3.4 bn and precious metal revenues of €12.2bn euros. With around 12,600 employees worldwide in more than 100 subsidiaries in 38 countries, Heraeus holds a leading position in its global markets.
Northam is a fully empowered, independent, integrated platinum group metals (PGM) producer. Northam is listed as a platinum counter on the main board of the stock exchange of the JSE Limited, and is a member company of the SRI Index. The company wholly owns and operates two diverse PGM operations in the South African Bushveld Complex, and produces in excess of 450,000 ounces (4E) annually. The high-grade Zondereinde mine has a remaining life of mine of 21 years, while the shallower Booysendal North operation, which has resource of more than 100 million ounces is a long life modern, mechanised mine in the South African mining space. The company is currently working on developing the Booysendal South property, with the addition of the recently acquired Everest operations. Northam employs 10 000 people at its two operations.