Platinum to Rise on SA Mining Changes


"It's not a gem today, but a gem tomorrow."

Platinum and palladium will rise on concern about implementing changes to mining rules in South Africa, said Ian Henderson, who manages about $7 billion in natural-resource assets at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

"We've been long platinum for a long time," he said today in an interview in London, referring to a bet on higher prices. "It's not a gem today, but a gem tomorrow."

Concern about rule changes intensified in recent weeks as Anglo American Plc and Lonmin Plc said the government deprived them of mining rights. The ruling party in South Africa, the world's largest platinum producer, is preparing to discuss mine nationalization at a congress next month.

The government has upheld its award of some prospecting rights at a mine of Anglo's Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. unit to a company whose biggest shareholder has been in business with the son of South Africa's president. Lonmin in May lost prospecting rights for some metals to a company led by a former government official who once sat on its board.

South Africa is struggling to draw foreign capital as investment costs rise because of laws aimed at redressing the inequalities of apartheid that compel the sale of stakes in mines to black South Africans. The youth wing of the ruling African National Congress and labor unions want the country's citizens to gain more benefit from its mineral resources.

The government said Aug. 17 a six-month moratorium on processing prospecting applications would go into effect on Sept. 1 as steps are taken to ensure that the system is "clean." South Africa also plans to clarify ambiguities in mining laws to address investor concerns over awards of rights, Mines Minister Susan Shabangu said.

The country supplies about four-fifths of the world's platinum.

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