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PGM miners now a 'vastly superior investment opportunity': Hambro

Opinions were mixed regarding future growth possibilities for platinum group metals at a South Africa industry event yesterday, where BlackRock managing director Evy Hambro said he believed PGM miners now represented an improved investment opportunity.
PGM miners now a 'vastly superior investment opportunity': Hambro PGM miners now a 'vastly superior investment opportunity': Hambro PGM miners now a 'vastly superior investment opportunity': Hambro PGM miners now a 'vastly superior investment opportunity': Hambro PGM miners now a 'vastly superior investment opportunity': Hambro

A panel discussion at Joburg Indaba’s PGM Industry Day

Staff reporter

He told the Joburg Indaba's online PGM Industry Day that South Africa's PGM companies were "much more financially robust and have really sorted themselves out in terms of balance sheet repair" and had also diversified internationally.

"They are a vastly superior investment opportunity than in the past," he said according to Joburg Indaba's Twitter feed.

South Africa-based PGM producers have reported record earnings in recent weeks, buoyed by a rising basket price, a weaker rand and strong operational performances despite COVID-19 constraints.

Hydrogen future hype

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe told the event South Africa had established a research, development and innovation strategy on hydrogen and had begun to form "Platinum Valley" to identify opportunities to kickstart hydrogen cell manufacturing.

"We are positive that this will create an opportunity to build a local skills base and lead the country into a new era of energy generation and demand for the platinum group metals," he said.

Mantashe said the government was committed to Hydrogen South Africa's goal to eventually supply 25% of global PGM-based catalyst demand for the hydrogen and fuel cell industries based on local technologies.

The World Platinum Council said last week the emergence of hydrogen for clean energy transport was expected to fuel platinum demand

Automotive hydrogen fuel cells in fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEVs) were almost always proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells which contained platinum catalyst layers, it said.

Hambro said the global investment manager hadn't reached any conclusions on the hydrogen economy.

"It could have a massive addressable market in the future but the journey will be incredibly volatile in terms of the move from labs to large scale deployment," Hambro said, according to Joburg Indaba.

Anglo American Platinum CEO Natascha Viljoen told the event the company was "quite bullish" about the hydrogen economy and it was integral to Amplats' carbon-neutral roadmap.

"We are actively seeking new applications for our metals," she said according to the feed.

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said fuel cells would dominate the heavy vehicle market eventually but "diesel will still play a role for some time".

Platinum is traditionally used in diesel exhaust systems to reduce emissions.

Froneman said there was a clear indication FCEVs would dominate in China.

South Africa had massive potential for a green export economy, mining specialist Heidi Sternberg from the government's Public Investment Corp told the event.

"The next 10 years in this space will be essential otherwise we could miss the boat," she said.