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Amplats spends $100M to up platinum demand

Tech companies with any use for platinum should be licking their lips following the Anglo American Platinum announcement it would put US$100 million into two new investment funds for the industry.
Amplats spends $100M to up platinum demand Amplats spends $100M to up platinum demand Amplats spends $100M to up platinum demand Amplats spends $100M to up platinum demand Amplats spends $100M to up platinum demand

Make people buy more of this please, says Amplats to tech companies

Staff reporter

This will also be matched by South Africa's Government Employees Pension Fund.

The strategy is not new: Amplats has run a similar fund since 2013, and invested in hydrogen fuel cell technology among other things, to the tune of $60 million in total. 

The new funds are UK-based, run by AP Ventures LLC.

One will manage existing investments and another will make new plays.

Technologies in its sights include hydrogen infrastructure; energy storage platforms, water purification, sensors, durable electronics and medical devices.

Amplats CEO Chris Griffiths said splitting off the current investments from the marketing division would allow them more room to grow. 

"Having enjoyed success and built a strong track record as part of Anglo American Platinum's PGM Investment Programme we have taken the decision to separate the fund's activities into an independent structure that will attract additional outside investment and allow AP Ventures to increase the scale of its activities," he said.

"Through this transaction, we are hoping to facilitate the application of cutting-edge technological advances and broad innovative thinking to address mining's major challenges."

The South African pension fund is run by the Public Investment Corporation.

"My view is this investment will stimulate and sustain the demand for PGMs in the long term, benefitting our clients and preserving the long-term mineral wealth for all South Africans," he said.

"In addition, the potential for localisation of these technologies in South Africa, contributes to sustaining jobs in the PGM mining sector and planning for creation of jobs in the manufacturing sectors."

Platinum prices have not had a good run in the past few months, falling from over $1,000 per ounce at the start of the year to $820/oz this week.

Palladium is around $940/oz after hitting $1,128/oz in January.

Hydrogen fuel cells were once seen as a likely replacement for internal combustion engines in cars, but battery-powered electric vehicles have taken over in recent years. 

Major manufacturers are still going with the idea, however, and Toyota has just released the Mirai in the UK, with 15 of them available in 2018 at a cost of £66,000.