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Zim set to up platinum output

By Melody Chikono

ZIMBABWE is expected to add up to 4% (about 17 thousand ounces (koz)) of platinum production volumes as a backlog of semi-finished inventory is refined in South Africa on the back of easing disruptions and record platinum group minerals (PGM) pricing support.

This is coming as global platinum demand is seen increasing by 1% (+59 koz) to 7,753 koz with strong recovery in mine production and modest growth in recycling expected to see total supply rise by 17% (+1 132 koz) to 7 943 koz. The World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) in it’s platinum quarterly Q2 2021 report, said as a result, 2021 is forecast to generate a surplus of +190 koz compared to the deficit of -883 koz in 2020, as the latter was driven by investment inflows of 1,6 moz which contrasts with the forecast investment total of 521 koz for this year.

“North American volumes are forecast to grow by 8% (+28 koz) as a project in Montana ramps-up, while Zimbabwe is expected to add 17 koz, up 4%, as the backlog of semi-finished inventory is refined in South Africa. As disruption eases and record PGM pricing supports robust industry balance sheets, we expect a build up of producer refined inventory to more normal levels with a net 40 koz increase.” The World Bank’s global growth expectations have been revised up from the 4% expected at the start of this year to 5,6% on the back of stronger than expected recoveries in major economies, such as China and the United States.

As the future prospects for platinum demand continue to strengthen, WPIC expects investment demand to remain positive, although at a lower rate than previously anticipated. n the second half of the year Zimbabwe’s production increased by 17% (+18 koz) year-on-year as a backlog of matte from the Unki smelter was processed through the ACP (Anglo platinum converting process) and refined.

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