Platinum is a precious metal with a silver-like appearance, widely used to manufacture catalytic converters and in jewellery making.

Platinum (Pt)

Platinum is ductile, malleable, stable at high temperatures and exhibits outstanding resistance to corrosion, including against many chemical processes in the human body. Along with iridium, osmium, palladium, rhodium, and ruthenium, it is one of the six platinum group metals (PGMs), all of which are very rare. South Africa is by far the largest producer of platinum, providing over 70% of global supply, followed by Russia (11%) and Zimbabwe (8%).1

Platinum mining is both labour- and capital-intensive. It can take over 7 tons of ore to produce 30 grams of pure platinum. As it is rarely found in sufficiently high concentrations for extraction to be commercially viable, considerable amounts are produced as by- or co-products of other metals, such as nickel and copper.2 It is primarily used as a catalyst in chemical reactions, particularly in manufacturing catalytic converters for the automotive industry, accounting for 50 percent of annual platinum demand globally. The highest materiality ESG issues associated with the platinum supply chain are corruption, labour rights violations, occupational diseases and pollution.

Main Uses and Attributes

Approximately half of global platinum demand comes from the manufacture of catalytic converters for use in the automotive industry, which convert unburned hydrocarbons from fuel combustion into less harmful waste products.3 Currently, an estimated 95 percent of all commercially available automobiles are fitted with a catalytic converter.

As well as being one of the least reactive metals, platinum is also highly resistant to both corrosion and tarnishing – properties which make it ideal for jewellery manufacture. The jewellery industry accounts for roughly 35 percent of platinum use, with the largest markets located in China, Japan, India and the United States.4

In addition to acting as a catalyst in petroleum refining, platinum-containing products have medical applications including dental protheses, surgical equipment, implants and chemotherapy medication. Various electronic components also contain platinum, such as hard disks, liquid crystal displays, optical fibres and wiring.5

Main Uses

  • Cars
  • Electronics
  • Jewellery
  • Medical Equipment

Key Industries

  • Automotive
  • Jewellery
  • Medical
  • Petrochemicals

Key Countries

Top Producer South Africa
Top Reserves South Africa

Supply Chain Risk

TDi assesses Platinum for key risks affecting the security of supply, and for its association with artisanal and small-scale mining.

Overall Supply Chain Resilience Risk
Strength of Association with ASM
Very Low Moderate Very High

Country Governance Risks

Platinum's association with countries experiencing:

Violence and Conflict
Weak Rule of Law
Poor Human Rights
Poor Environmental Governance
Very Low Moderate Very High

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