Platinum is critical to the global economy. The metal’s unique chemical and physical properties make it essential in a wide range of industrial applications. It is also considered one of the finest of all jewelry metals. Over 20% of all consumer goods either contain platinum or are produced using platinum.
Use of platinum by emerging economies is driving demand growth faster than the metal is being produced.
That’s because platinum supply is facing critical problems. Platinum is the rarest of the precious metals. Extraordinarily rare, it occurs as only 0.003 parts per billion in the earth’s crust and is 30 times more rare than gold.
This means platinum mines are also rare. In 2012, 72% of the world’s platinum was mined in South Africa with another 15% being mined in Russia. These two countries thus control more than 87% of the world’s platinum production. Both of these nations face political and geological obstacles to increased production.
Labor unrest during 2012 caused South African platinum production to fall 12%, or about 550,000 ounces. Without other producers to pick up the slack, global platinum output dropped 8% during the year.
Noble Metals Novita project is the only primary platinum district outside of South Africa and Zimbabwe with significant potential for mining expansion. Fitting, given that platinum was originally discovered in this area of Colombia, during the 17th century. Spanish miners at the time considered this “little silver” a nuisance to their gold operations.
Colombia was the world’s only source of platinum until 1820. Large dredging operations were conducted during the early 1900s by Choco Pacific and the South American Gold and Platinum Company—belonging to famous mining entrepreneur Adolph Lewisohn, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Major shareholders of the company included: Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa, Goldfields American Development Company, and Johnson Matthey and Co.
Noble Metals is today conducting the first modern exploration in this prolific region. Opening up a critical source of platinum, and gold.