Trusted processing advisors for miners, smelters and refiners
The SFA (Oxford) team has advised on the placement of concentrates and matte, right-sized mines to plant feeds and technology types, evaluated new processing technologies and motivated investment. We have identified and quantified South Africa’s PGM, base metal and waste product output from concentrators, smelters and refineries, estimated the production of secondary materials from each processing stage, and defined the typical chemical assay of each secondary material.
A study to identify the best processing route for a PGM producer’s concentrate
SFA (Oxford) mapped out the commercial options for a client’s concentrate, identifying and defining the various processing points (including capacity constraints) in the global value chain (quantifying product impact) for this concentrate from smelter to the refinery.
Identification and quantification of South Africa’s low-grade PGM waste products from concentrators, smelters and refineries
The SFA (Oxford) team compiled a list of South Africa’s PGM producers and respective concentrators, smelters and refineries, calculating the amount of PGMs produced on an annual basis for each metallurgical process, and estimating the production of secondary materials from each process and defining the typical chemical assay of each secondary material.
Processing options and commercial terms
An assessment of advanced mineral processing off-take options and indicative commercial terms for a new platinum mine
This assignment provided the client with a high-level depiction of South African PGM mineral processing capacities including concentrators, smelters, and base metal and precious metal refiners. In addition, it presented a high-level assessment of non-South African domiciled mineral processing options and addressed both the commercial challenges and legal constraints as defined by the South African Minerals Beneficiation Bill.
It identified the processing options that could potentially offer the client maximum value including an analysis of the payability of the product as ore, concentrate, matte and refined metal. The pros and cons of the processing options were examined, including the potential for advance payment, and indicative terms. A succinct, high-level report and strategic recommendation on mineral processing options were then provided to the client’s Executive Committee.
Identification of future feed streams
Evaluation of PGM-grade waste material from South African operations
An analysis was conducted of the flows and typical grade of PGM waste material from the concentrating, smelting and refining processes of South African PGM producers, and the most relevant producers of PGM waste material for the client’s smelter and refinery.
Financial modelling and processing due diligence
Specialist consultants and financial modelling for a new PGM mining project in Zimbabwe
SFA (Oxford) acted as a specialist consultant to the lender in reviewing the business plan, processing strategy and financial model.
Business case crystallisation
Strategic workshop and contextualisation of the chrome industry
A strategic workshop was facilitated by SFA (Oxford) to crystallise a client’s business case for participation in the business of UG2 tailings dams and the retreatment of contained PGM waste, detailing the value-adding opportunities it presented to the company. The team also assisted the client through a contextualisation of the chromite concentrate market in terms of commercial price valuations for the concentrate.
Market fundamentals and technical studies
Market intelligence, and mine and project due diligence
SFA (Oxford)’s expertise in chrome includes the listing of chrome companies and providing chrome and ferrochrome supply-demand market intelligence and price forecasts to support the feasibility and bankable feasibility studies to chrome companies globally. The studies quantified the contribution chrome ore revenues made to a platinum producer and provided price valuations and commercial terms for UG2 chrome concentrate to traders/ exporters. SFA has a full understanding of the chrome value chain for primary and secondary producers in South Africa.
Insight for strategic planning
PGM business intelligence for strategic planning purposes
SFA (Oxford) provided an estimation of PGM primary and secondary mine concentrate (base metal etc.) volumes by region, along with an explanation of refining treatment flows (player integration versus reliance on third-party toll treatment). This included estimates of the internal and, where applicable, external costs of producing concentrate.
The characterisation of primary and secondary PGM smelting and refining by region was analysed, including the main players, their capacities, their level of integration in the PGM chain, and, where possible, their utilisation rates and margins.
The spent autocatalyst collection market and associated infrastructure by region were researched and analysed, including the main players, collection efficiency rates by region and the typical business models employed.
Value addition and beneficiation strategy
A joint collaboration with major PGM players
SFA (Oxford) identified the critical factors required for an optimal PGM beneficiation model for a PGM producing region, independently assessed commercial metallurgical options, and an incentive framework for higher investment levels.
Reverse engineering of potential concentrate processing options
Leveraging off SFA (Oxford)’s vast PGM knowledge, relationships with the major smelters, and a ‘reverse-thinking’ metallurgical review to establish the smelter target envelope
SFA held a metallurgical review workshop and undertook site visits to a selection of smelters across the globe to establish which of the selected smelters would a) prefer to treat, b) tolerate, c) could be adjusted to take, a client's concentrate feeds in terms of composition, tonnage, and timing.
The team clarified the nature and indicative terms of a potential mineral processing agreement with each of the selected smelters. Using indicative commercial terms provided by the smelters, SFA undertook a financial simulation exercise to determine which concentrate options yielded the highest NPV, as well as defining the nature of test work required for reverse engineering an optimal concentrate specification for acceptance at the smelter, and the optimal window for processing.
Solutions for processors
SFA has extensive experience in assessing clients' advanced mineral processing offtake options and evaluating indicative commercial terms at global smelters and refineries.
Clients have used SFA to provide the analytical link with banks and financial institutions to support PGM investment decision-making and provide robust market support.
SFA can provide accurate short-, medium- and long-term PGM price forecasts to support your business plans and contract negotiations, backed by our extensive supply and demand databases.
SFA provides regular data flows of mine supply and metallurgical pipelines, basket prices, mine economics, and future supply and demand profiles to assist strategic decision-making and supply-chain purchasing.
SFA is a trusted advisor to Board members and senior management of significant stakeholders and provides regular assistance to strategy and planning efforts.
Working with clients and third parties, SFA has a long track record of providing technical due diligence and financial modelling support to help secure future funding from investors and lenders.
Market Outlook Reports for Processors
SFA's advanced mineral processing assessment offers offtake opportunities into existing PGM smelting, base metals and precious metals refining facilities.
A detailed look at the precious metals recovered from PGM processing plant waste streams at concentrators, smelters and refineries, and tailings dams.
Released every three months, this price risk-focused report details-impacting factors for platinum, palladium and rhodium markets for the next three years.
Released Bi-annually, our highly-detailed 10-year view provides current, and long-term trends and influences acting on the global PGM markets.
Released annually, this ground-breaking forward-looking report analyses the influences and trends on the PGM markets between 2030 and 2040.
Stay up-to-date with quarterly 5-year view forecast on ruthenium's technological developments and underlying evolution of supply, demand and end-use applications.
A comprehensive quarterly report on iridium market fundamentals and integration of future technologies for new and existing end-users.
A proprietary report unlocking the current and future demands for precious metals (Pt, Ir, and Ru) used in electrolysers and fuel cells for the hydrogen economy.
In collaboration with Heraeus, this weekly report makes sure all the key precious metal and macroeconomic developments are fully analysed by the SFA team.
A comprehensive study of recycled autocatalysts from scrapyards, collection, decanners, smelting and refining players, technology developments and economics.
Unrivalled insights and definitive answers to PGM purchasing dynamics, metal flows, trading and pricing factors affecting platinum, palladium and rhodium.
The SFA team is constantly providing rich insights for its clients on structural events moving the PGM markets, particularly when the situation continues to change.