Sanctions not expected to extend to Russian PGM exports, says SFA Oxford

A platinum ingot after engraving at the JSC Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

EXPORTS of platinum group metals (PGM) from Russia have not been blocked by international sanctions so far and are not expected to be affected in future according to Henk de Hoop, CEO of UK research and consultancy firm SFA Oxford.

“At the moment, we do not have limits on Russia supply coming through,” he told delegates to the PGMs Industry Day conference being held in Johannesburg.

Russia is the world’s largest producer of palladium accounting for about 37.5% of global supply while it also accounts for about 10.6% of global platinum supply all of which comes as by-products from the Norilsk Nickel mine.

De Hoop said Russia’s marketing channels could be maintained through China which would be “very happy” to take up that PGM production as well as Norilsk’s nickel output.

He added that Norilsk had already stocked up on spare parts for its mining equipment fleet which was manufactured by international companies like Caterpillar that could be hit by sanctions. He pointed out there was a large “grey market” for mining equipment parts from which they could be sourced.

But while De Hoop’s assessment was that current production from Norilsk would not be affected he said there could be an impact on proposed new pgm projects in Russia because these could be “pushed out” through the impact of sanctions.