JOHANNESBURG– South Africa and Russia, the world’s top two producers of platinum, have discussed various options to preserve the demand for and value of platinum, says South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe.

We looked into various options that can be used to [utilise] platinum different technologies that are being developed for the consumption of platinum. [Those are] the interventions on the demand side of platinum, Mantashe said here Tuesday after a meeting with Russian counterpart Dmitry Kobylkin.

South Africa accounts for almost 90 per cent of global platinum reserves.

Mantashe’s meeting with the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment was part of the third South Africa-Russia Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Conference here. The conference agreed on the need to increase the demand for Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) and develop alternative uses of PGMs.

This includes in fuel cell technology, jewellery fabrication, as well as investment applications. The two countries also shared innovations in mineral processing, including South African technology in water and energy efficient technologies being developed at Mintek, an autonomous research and development (R&D) body specialising in all aspects of mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and related technology.

Mantashe said Mintek was conducting research on a number of alternative uses for platinum. He hopes that South Africa and Russia can work together in the promotion of PGMs internationally and that the two countries can co-operate in maintaining the value of PGMs.

Let’s work together to protect platinum, increase its demand and ensure that we preserve a good price for platinum, he said.

At the PGMs conference, South Africa and Russia recommitted themselves to the continued implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on PGMs. The MoU was signed in 2013 on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Durban and resulted in the creation of a Joint Working Group on PGMs between the two countries.

In order to further sustain our mining, we must strengthen collaboration in the exploration and geological spheres. In this regard, we intend to partner with Russia in the area of airborne geophysics. In order to make a sustainable difference, we must make our MoU implementable, and continuously work to strengthen our partnership, including the exchange of knowledge and skills transfer, Mantashe said.

The two countries further engaged on risks to the growth and sustainable development of the sector, including the illicit trafficking of raw PGMs.

The conference took place in the lead up to South Africa hosting the 10th annual BRICS (Brzail, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit, which begins in Johannesburg on Wednesday.