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Platinum Group Metals: Issues and Opportunities 2012

  • ID: 2114537
  • Report
  • March 2012
  • Region: Global
  • 133 Pages
  • Thintri Inc
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Platinum Group Metals: Issues and Opportunities, a new market study that surveys current market conditions in platinum group metals (PGMs), and analyzes emerging demand, supply constraints and price volatility. The report also explores opportunities generated by new techniques of PGM recovery from previously-unused resources, and opportunities created by development of new, much less costly substitutes.

The report separates hype from reality and assesses the dramatically changing landscape facing PGM users and suppliers. Forecasts are supplied for demand and prices under current conditions going out to 2020, as well as an analysis of the effects of new technologies for PGM replacement and recovery.

Background on PGMs

Sourcing and Suppliers

Applications

- Automotive and
- Transportation
- Electronics/Electrical
- Medical/Dental
- Industrial and Scientific
- Jewelry, Investment and Coinage

The Supply Side

- “Peak Metals”
- Supply Threats
- Response to Shortages
- Political Issues
- Long-Term Solutions

The Demand Side

- The Automotive Demand Driver
- The Jewelry and Investment Demand Drivers
- The Petroleum Demand Driver
- Industrial Demand Drivers
- Medical/Biomedical/Dental Demand Drivers
- Other Demand Drivers
- - PGM Demand by element
- - Platinum
- - Palladium
- - Rhodium
- - Iridium
- - Ruthenium
- - Osmium
- Effects of Alternative Energy Schemes

Price Trends

- PGM Replacement
- Precious Metals and Reduced-PGM
- PGM-Free and Reduced PGM Autocatalysts
- Alternatives Based on Conventional Chemistry
- Alternatives Based on Nanotechnology
- Electrolysis Catalyst Alternatives
- Impact of Alternatives on PGM Demand and Price

Scrap and Recovery

- Improved Recycling Schemes
- Slag and Mine Waste

Background on Platinum Group Metals

Platinum group metals (PGMs), namely platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, ruthenium and osmium, are rare, expensive and critical to today’s economy. Up to now, there have been no other materials that can duplicate their performance in fundamental applications. Those applications include autocatalysts, the critical components in the catalytic converters found in most vehicles that reduce harmful emission; catalysts used in a broad range of industrial processes, including petroleum refining; high-temperature processing of abrasive materials such as glass; disc drives and electronic components; medical and dental implants and devices; and electrochemistry. Of course, PGMs are also highly prized in jewelry and investment.

Prices of PGMs are high and notoriously volatile. Rhodium, for example, went from slightly over $6,000 per ounce in mid-2007, to $10,000 per ounce in mid-2008 and then crashed to a little above $1,000 before the end of that year. While this degree of fluctuation is exceptional, it’s emblematic of the behavior of critical materials in limited supply, tied to broader economic forces like auto sales.

At this time, the limits of supply are becoming clear. Like most natural resources, PGM supplies are inherently limited. Concerns about “peak metals,” the idea that availability has peaked for limited resources and future production will be reduced and/or more costly (which has already occurred for a number of important minerals), will soon be an important influence with PGMs. Already, Russia, the largest palladium producer, has announced that its supplies of palladium are dwindling.

Tightening of supplies comes at a time of accelerating demand. Growth of auto sales and industrialization in the developing world, particularly Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries), as well as interest in PGM jewelry and investment by newly-prosperous populations, will place significant stress on available supplies. In addition, tightening environmental restrictions are forcing the use of more PGMs per vehicle to meet emissions rules. Also, building of new oil refineries and industrial growth in a recovering economy will put further stress on supplies. Other demand drivers like medical and petroleum, which are functions of aging populations and global economic shifts, will place stress on PGM supplies as well.

Analyses indicate that presently-known platinum reserves are sufficient for another 360 years at present rates of production and consumption. However, that estimate drops to 15 years if growing demand, particularly from growing industrialization and automobile sales in the developing world, is taken into account.

With demand growth, inelasticity of supply will force up prices in this decade dramatically.

The response to scarcity will no doubt include reduction in PGM consumption through “thrifting,” i.e, the devising of ways to use less PGMs in established applications (which has been underway for decades). Also, rising prices will mean that deposits with lower PGM content such as those in Australia, which had been too costly to exploit in the past, will now be profitably mined, to some degree mitigating that price increase.

The most significant consequences, however, will be the development of high performance, low cost alternatives, and in improved recycling and recovery.

Alternatives are sometimes as simple as substituting a less expensive PGM, such as palladium, for a more expensive one, such as platinum. The more significant alternatives use nanotechnology with inexpensive materials such as nickel, to fine tune the properties of nanoparticles by controlling parameters such as diameter. Inexpensive nanomaterials can substitute for PGMs in some of the most important markets, such as catalysts in the automotive and industrial markets. PGM usage in some applications, such as jewelry and electronics, is relatively immune from substitution, but most applications are vulnerable.

Recycling will become more important as PGM prices rise. Newly available technologies are able to dramatically improve the amount of PGMs that can be captured from recycled products such as catalytic converters.

Other recently developed processes are able to extract significant quantities of PGMs from mine waste that contains much higher PGM concentrations than the best quality ores. Mountains of slag and mine waste in North America and worldwide contain enough PGMs to significantly impact the supply/demand/price picture for PGMs once exploited.

Alternatives that can capture markets directly from PGMs, and new technologies that can dramatically improve PGM recovery from recycled materials and mine waste, are already commercially available or very near commercialization and will exert a growing influence on markets now owned by PGMs and PGM prices and availability.

The confluence of growing demand, limited and/or dwindling supplies, and growing availability of alternatives and new supplies will likely create a period of extraordinary volatility before things stabilize. Most of this decade will witness the transition of established PGM markets as prices rise and users adjust to new conditions, while others take advantage of the new opportunities presented.
Understand the Opportunities

Platinum group metals are at an extraordinary intersection of market forces. Their rarity and expense has largely confined them to a limited set of markets. Those markets, in turn, are largely dependent on PGMs simply because there have been no viable, and cheaper, alternatives. The inelasticity of supply has led to occasionally extreme volatility in the past. Today, growing demand, fueled by a range of factors that include accelerating motor vehicle sales around the world, a rising industrial sector in many regions and a growing consumer preference for white metals in jewelry, while supplies are relatively fixed and in some cases declining, threatens to put PGMs in an even more volatile situation. As demand exceeds the available supplies, prices can be expected to rise significantly.

The Thintri market study, Platinum Group Metals: Issues and Opportunities, relies on in-depth interviews with industry executives, market development managers and government and academic researchers. The report provides a survey of the current state of the PGM markets, an assessment of viable alternatives and recovery schemes, and discussion of the effects of growing demand on availability and prices, and the effects on those prices of PGM replacement technologies and improved recovery methods.
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Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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Executive Summary: Platinum Group Metals
E.1 Introduction
E.2 Applications
E.3 Supply, Demand and Price Issues
Figure E-1 Source Countries of PGMs
Figure E-2 Platinum Demand Forecast, Autocatalysts
Figure E-3 Palladium Price Forecast
E.4 PGM Replacement and Improved Recovery Methods
Figure E-4 Total Rhodium Displaced by Alternatives
Figure E-5 Resulting Rhodium Price, After Alternatives

Part 1 Background
1.1 Introduction
Table 1-1 Platinum Group Metals and Characteristics
Figure 1-1 Periodic Table of the Elements with PGMs Highlighted
Table 1-2 PGM Prices, February, 2012
1.2 The Elements
1.2.1 Platinum
1.2.2 Palladium
1.2.3 Rhodium
1.2.4 Iridium
1.2.5 Ruthenium
1.2.6 Osmium
1.3 Sourcing
1.3.1 Extraction
1.3.2 Major Producers

Part 2 Applications
2.1 Electronic components
2.2 Medical & Dental
2.3 Industrial and Scientific
2.3.1 General Industrial
2.3.2 Glass Manufacture
2.3.3 Scientific
2.4 Automotive: Spark Plugs and Sensors
2.5 Jewelry
2.6 Investment and Coinage
2.7 Catalysts
2.7.1 Catalysts: Industrial
2.7.2 Catalysts: Petroleum
2.7.3 Catalysts: Automotive
2.7.4 Catalysts: Fuel Cells
Figure 2-1 PEMFC Fuel Cell Operation

Part 3 The Supply Side: Supplies, Peak Metals & Scarcity
3.1 Today’s PGM Sources
Figure 3-1 PGM Production by Country
Figure 3-2 Platinum Production by Country
Figure 3-3 Palladium Production by Country
Figure 3-4 Other PGM Production by Country
3.2 Peak Metals & Scarcity
Table 3-1 Minerals That Have Already Peaked
3.3 Response to Shortages
3.4 Lessons from the 1970s Cobalt Crisis
3.5 Today’s Supply Threats: Palladium
3.6 Political Issues
3.7 Long-Term Solutions: Near-Earth Asteroid Mining

Part 4 The Demand Side: Market Growth and Price Trends
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The Automotive Demand Driver
Figure 4-1 Platinum Demand by Region,Autocatalysts, 2012
Figure 4-2 Palladium Demand by Region, Autocatalysts 2012
Figure 4-3 Platinum Demand Forecast, Autocatalysts
Figure 4-4 Platinum Demand Forecast by Region, Autocatalysts
Figure 4-5 Palladium Demand Forecast – Autocatalysts
Figure 4-6 Palladium Demand Forecast by Region, Autocatalysts
Figure 4-7 Rhodium Demand Forecast, Autocatalysts
4.3 The Jewelry and Investment Demand Drivers
Figure 4-8 Platinum Demand by Region, Investment and Jewelry, 2012
Figure 4-9 Palladium Demand by Region, Investment and Jewelry, 2012
Figure 4-10 Platinum Demand Forecast – Investment and Jewelry
Figure 4-11 Palladium Demand Forecast – Investment and Jewelry
4.4 The Petroleum Demand Driver
Figure 4-12 Platinum Demand by Region, Petroleum 2012
Figure 4-13 Platinum Demand Forecast, Petroleum
4.5 Industrial: Chemical, Electrical, Electrochemical and Glass Demand Drivers
Figure 4-14 Platinum Demand by Region, Chemical and Glass 2012
Figure 4-15 Palladium Demand by Region, Chemical 2012
Figure 4-16 Platinum Demand Forecast, Chemical and Glass
Figure 4-17 Palladium Demand Forecast – Chemical
Figure 4-18 Rhodium Demand Forecast – Chemical and Glass
Figure 4-19 Platinum Demand Forecast, Electrical
Figure 4-20 Palladium Demand Forecast – Electrical
Figure 4-21 Rhodium Demand Forecast – Electrical
Figure 4-22 Iridium Demand Forecast, Chemical, Electrical and Electrochemical
Figure 4-23 Ruthenium Demand Forecast, Chemical, Electrical and Electrochemical
4.6 Medical, Biomedical and Dental Demand Drivers
Figure 4-24 Platinum Demand by Region, Biomedical 2012
Figure 4-25 Platinum Demand Forecast – Biomedical
Figure 4-26 Palladium Demand by Region, Dental 2012
Figure 4-27 Palladium Demand Forecast, Dental
4.7 Other Market Drivers
Figure 4-28 Platinum Demand by Region, Other Applications 2012
Figure 4-29 Palladium Demand by Region, Other Applications 2012
Figure 4-30 Platinum Demand Forecast, Other Applications
Figure 4-31 Palladium Demand Forecast, Other Applications
Figure 4-32 Rhodium Demand Forecast, Other Applications
Figure 4-33 Iridium Demand Forecast, Other Applications
Figure 4-34 Ruthenium Demand Forecast, Other Applications
4.8 PGM Demand by Element
4.8.1 Platinum
Figure 4-35 Platinum Demand by Application, 2012
Figure 4-36 Platinum Demand by Region, 2012
Figure 4-37 Global Platinum Demand Forecast
Figure 4-38 Global Platinum Demand Forecast by Region
4.3 Palladium
Figure 4-39 Palladium Demand by Application, 2012
Figure 4-40 Palladium Demand by Region, 2012
Figure 4-41 Global Palladium Demand Forecast
Figure 4-42 Global Palladium Demand Forecast by Region
4.4 Rhodium
Figure 4-43 Rhodium Demand by Application, 2012
Figure 4-44 Rhodium Demand Forecast
4.5 Iridium, Ruthenium and Osmium
Figure 4-45 Iridium Demand by Application, 2012
Figure 4-46 Iridium Demand Forecast
Figure 4-47 Ruthenium Demand by Application, 2012
Figure 4-48 Ruthenium Demand Forecast
Figure 4-49 Osmium Demand by Application, 2012
Figure 4-50 Osmium Demand Forecast
4.7 Effects of Alternative Energy Schemes and the Hydrogen Economy
Figure 4-51 Production of Hydrogen, Shares by Method

Part 5 Price Trends
5.1 Introduction and Methodology
5.2 Demand Effects on PGM Price
Figure 5-1 Recent Rhodium Price History
5.3 Projected Price Trends
Figure 5-2 Price Trends, Platinum
Figure 5-3 Price Trends, Palladium
Figure 5-4 Price Trends, Rhodium
Figure 5-5 Price Trends, Iridium
Figure 5-6 Price Trends, Ruthenium
Figure 5-7 Price Trends, Osmium

Part 6 PGM Replacement
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Precious Metals as Alternatives and Reduced PGM-Schemes
6.2.1 Precious Metal-Based Substitutes in Autocatalysts
6.2.2 Jewelry
6.3 PGM-Free and Reduced PGM Autocatalysts
6.3.1 Alternatives Based on Conventional Chemistry
6.3.2 Alternatives Based on Nanotechnology
6.4 Electrolysis and Fuel Cell Catalyst Alternatives
6.4.1 Research Progress
6.4.2 Nanotechnology: Catalysts Based on Nanoparticles and Nanotubes
6.5 Impact of Alternatives on PGM Demand and Price

6.5.1 Effects of Platinum Alternatives
Figure 6-1 Platinum Demand, Conventional Forecast
Figure 6-2 Platinum Demand Not Susceptible to Replacement
Figure 6-3 Autocatalysts: Platinum Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-4 Chemical: Platinum Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-5 Petroleum: Platinum Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-6 Total Platinum Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-7 Resulting Platinum Demand After Alternatives
Figure 6-8 Resulting Platinum Price, After Alternatives
Figure 6-9 Demand for Platinum Alternatives
6.5.2 Effects of Palladium Alternatives
Figure 6-10 Palladium Demand, Conventional Forecast
Figure 6-11 Palladium Demand Not Susceptible to Replacement
Figure 6-12 Autocatalysts: Palladium Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-13 Chemical: Palladium Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-14 Total Palladium Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-15 Resulting Palladium Demand After Alternatives
Figure 6-16 Resulting Palladium Price, After Alternatives
Figure 6-17 Demand for Palladium Alternatives
6.5.3 Effects of Rhodium Alternatives
Figure 6-18 Rhodium Demand, Conventional Forecast
Figure 6-19 Rhodium Demand Not Susceptible to Replacement
Figure 6-20 Autocatalysts: Rhodium Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-21 Chemical: Rhodium Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-22 Total Rhodium Displaced by Alternatives
Figure 6-23 Resulting Rhodium Demand After Alternatives
Figure 6-24 Resulting Rhodium Price, After Alternatives
Figure 6-25 Demand for Rhodium Alternatives
6.5.4 Effects of Alternatives in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Catalysis
Figure 6-26 Effect of Alternatives on PGM Demand in Hydrogen
Fuel Cells

Part 7 Opportunities in Recycling and Recovery
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Scrap & Recycling
Table 7-1 Energy Savings from Processing Scrap Compared with Ore
7.2.1 Electronics and Electrochemistry Scrap
7.2.2 Automotive Scrap
7.2.3 Market Opportunities in PGM Recycling
Figure 7-1 Realized Scrap Volume: Platinum
Figure 7-2 Unrealized Scrap Volume: Platinum
Figure 7-3 Realized Scrap Volume: Palladium
Figure 7-4 Unrealized Scrap Volume: Palladium
Figure 7-5 Realized Scrap Volume: Rhodium
Figure 7-6 Unrealized Scrap Volume: Rhodium
Figure 7-7 Realized Scrap Volume: Iridium
Figure 7-8 Unrealized Scrap Volume: Iridium
Figure 7-9 Realized Scrap Volume: Ruthenium
Figure 7-10 Unrealized Scrap Volume: Ruthenium
7.3 Slag and Mine Waste
Figure 7-11 PGM Slag Recovery, North America
Figure 7-12 Slag Recovery, North America, by Metal
Figure 7-13 PGM Slag Recovery, Rest of World
Figure 7-14 Slag Recovery, Rest of World, by Metal
Figure 7-15 New PGM Supply with Improved Recovery: Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium
Figure 7-16 New PGM Supply with Improved Recovery: Iridium, Ruthenium, Osmium
7.4 Effect of Improved Recycling and Slag Recovery on PGM Prices
Figure 7-17 Conventional Price Forecast: Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium
Figure 7-18 Conventional Price Forecast: Iridium, Ruthenium, Osmium
Figure 7-19 Prices, with Improved Recovery: Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium
Figure 7-20 Prices with Improved Recovery: Iridium, Ruthenium, Osmium
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