South African Platinum Production Advances 46%

Source:

"SA is expanding extraction as prices, auto and jewelry demand increas."

South Africa said production of platinum group metals surged 46% in September as price gains spurred output and after a labor strike cut shipments the previous year.

The country's total output of mined commodities rose 12%, Statistics SA said today on its website.

South Africa, with more than three-quarters of the world's platinum reserves, is expanding extraction of the metal as an increase in demand from auto and jewelry makers boosts prices. Platinum group metals also include iridium, osmiridium, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium and osmium.

Platinum prices in London jumped 23% in September from a year earlier. Palladium has rallied 75% this year. Gains in the metals helped drive up South Africa's total mineral sales by 28% to 25.7 billion rand ($3.74 billion) in August from a year earlier, Statistics SA said. Sales figures lag behind production data.

South Africa's September gold output fell 4.7%, even after sales rose 28% in August from a year earlier. Production of the precious metal is becoming more costly and more difficult as South African mines, already the deepest in the world, reach further into the earth.

Platinum traded at $1,765.57 an ounce in London. Output of the metal was curbed in September last year by a strike at Johannesburg-based Impala, which accounts for a quarter of global output.

South Africa's chromium and manganese ore output advanced 32% in September, while nickel production climbed 24%. Manganese ore sales almost quadrupled, according to the data.

The ThomReuters/Jefferies CRB index of commodity prices has increased 12% this year to the highest level in more than two years.

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