Journal Archive

Platinum Metals Rev., 1973, 17, (1), 13

Rustenburg to Expand Platinum Production Again

Problems of the Exhaust Catalyst Demand

  • H. R. B.

The big question facing the platinum producers, particularly Rustenburg, the largest of them, is the extent to which platinum metals will be used in catalytic converters to deal with automobile exhaust emissions. Because the automobile producers hope that the legislation facing them may be eased in its severity or delayed in its application, and because the catalyst technology they may have to rely upon is still being developed, they are naturally reluctant to commit themselves to platinum producers other than in somewhat elastic terms.

The lead time for getting substantial additional production of platinum metals into effect has been seriously eroded by the period of indecision of the automotive industry at large. Rustenburg’s problem is compounded by the fact that it serves a large proportion of the world’s needs of platinum for established uses, and its customers must not be made to feel that their future security of supplies is threatened by the prospective new use.

Therefore Rustenburg has taken the bold decision, with the attendant risk, of initiating the expansion of production at both the Rustenburg and Union mines to the optimum level as well as opening a new mine in an area where extensive exploration has already been done in anticipation of such a move.

The refineries operated jointly with Johnson Matthey must correspondingly be enlarged to give a total production capability, when fully established, of the order of twice the present output.

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