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The Oxford Platinum Lectures 2012

The currencies of tomorrow’s platinum world

Friday 11th May, The Sheldonian Theatre, University of Oxford

In 2012, SFA (Oxford) was proud to celebrate its 10th anniversary, and three years of hosting the Oxford Platinum Lectures. We look beyond the current market malaise and political turmoil that characterise it, and to what the future may hold – what the global economic picture looks like with a weaker rand, and what this means for PGMs and South Africa itself, with the aim of assuaging some of the political, social and economic uncertainties that are likely to plague the industry in the coming months and years, and pose the question 'What happens next?'. Our theme was chosen as a reflection of the fluid nature of today’s PGM industry, and the torrents that are sweeping through the financial markets, affecting each and every one of us.

Our event focused on what the world can expect from a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe; and what the implications are for the PGM supply-demand balance of both Europe's teetering auto sector and the new wave of green technologies, such as fuel cells. 

We heard expert views on the very forces that are the cause of so much of this industrial turmoil – the political and economic pushes and pulls that are pressuring producers, endangering end-users and impelling investors away from platinum towards other less volatile ventures.

Many attendees had travelled great distances and are a testament to both the growing success of this event and the continued trust placed in us by our clients.

Our guest speakers

Stephen A. Forrest, Managing Director, SFA (Oxford) Ltd

The currencies and currents of tomorrow's platinum world

Prior to establishing SFA (Oxford), Stephen was rated in the City as a top analyst in platinum-group metals research.

After graduation, Stephen progressed to Senior Operational Management within the Impala Platinum Group and negotiated, on behalf of the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa, with the South African Government and the National Unions on the restructuring of employment levels in the industry and their corresponding competencies.

He was selected by the Board of Impala as a technical representative to carry out a three-month, on-site study of Russia’s nickel giant, Norilsk Nickel.

Stephen was Senior Analyst and Director at the Union Bank of Switzerland Securities (SA), where he was rated top analyst covering platinum, coal and other mining sectors on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

From 1998 to 2001, Stephen reported to the Chairman of MRH Gruppe AG, as the Commodities Strategist (covering metals concentrate, LME metals, precious metals and crude oil) and as a fund manager, advising on-site studies of a vanadium project in Australia and a copper company in China.

Pete Kelley, Managing Director, LMC Automotive

Accident ahead?: Signposts for the approaching Euro car crash

Pete Kelly is the Managing Director of LMC Automotive and oversees all automotive forecasting activities for the company as well as being directly involved in the generation of vehicle demand forecasts. He directs product development activities at LMC Automotive and leads its Mobility Group, which researches the impact of new dynamic trends in the automotive sector.

Prior to this position, he was Director of the European arm of J.D. Power and Associates’ Forecasting Group and, in the 1990s, he also worked for the original LMC Automotive, first as senior analyst in commercial vehicle forecasting before rising to Managing Director. Earlier in his career Pete worked as an editor for the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals. He graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Dual Honours Degree in Astrophysics.

Dr Kerry-Ann Adamson, Research Director, Smart Energy, Pike Research

Lighting the fuse on fuel cells… 18 months to ignition

Kerry-Ann is the Research Director leading Pike Research’s Smart Energy practice, with responsibility for content management, key industry and client relationships, and consulting engagements. She has an extensive background in researching emerging technologies in the stationary power sector, including fuel cells, hydrogen, transport, as well as combined heat and power as the world transitions to an electricity-based economy.

Prior to joining Pike Research, Kerry-Ann was Principal Consultant for Fuel Cell Today and founder of FCT Consulting. She has 13 years of experience in the energy sector and fuel cell industry, including in-depth knowledge of technology issues, public policy factors, and market opportunities. Kerry-Ann has authored and co-authored more than 100 papers, reports, books, and articles and has presented at numerous international conferences and workshops. Before Fuel Cell Today, Adamson worked as a Research Assistant at the Technische Universitat, Berlin. She holds a PhD in fuel cells from Imperial College, London.

Jurgens van Zyl, Project Development Manager, Development Bank of Southern Africa

The South African rand: Mine rescuer this year or not?

A Project Development Manager within the Investment Banking Division of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Jurgens is responsible for identifying and developing new investment opportunities in South Africa’s mining, minerals processing and infrastructure sectors. Before joining the Investment Banking Division he was a mining specialist in the Advisory Unit and provided specialist techno-economic advice to both external and in-house clients. He works on a number of DBSA mining finance transactions and led the team that prepared the DBSA mining investment strategy.

From 2003 to 2008 he was contracted to the Regional Spatial Development Initiative Programme (RSDI) – a technical assistance programme funded by the SA Dept. of Trade and Industry. As part of the programme, he works extensively in the SADC region and beyond. His principal task was regional economic planning and identifying areas for private sector investment, typically along development corridors. Mining and mineral investment is a crucial sector in this programme as it provides the basis for
large-scale infrastructure investment.

Dr Vimbai Kwashirai, Associate Professor and Senior Researcher, Essen University

Zimbabwe after Mugabe

Vimbai is an Associate Professor and Senior Researcher in the Georg Foster Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. He holds a DPhil from Linacre College in Oxford University where he specialised in Colonial and Contemporary African Development Studies. He has taught at a number of universities in Germany, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. Also, Vimbai has worked with SFA (Oxford) as a freelance consultant since 2004. Vimbai is a leading expert on Zimbabwean human rights, land rights, poverty, and ecological transformations, he has successfully carried out wide-ranging consultancies with various governments, churches, private companies, and non-governmental organizations on the big questions regarding contemporary Zimbabwe.

Apart from the Humboldt research work on rural and urban poverty in Zimbabwe, he has been commissioned by UNESCO and EOLSS publishers to study environmental developments on the African continent. Vimbai is the author of the popular book, ‘Green Colonialism in Zimbabwe 1890-1980’, as well as ‘Conservationism in Zimbabwe 1850-1950’, and, ‘Zimbabwe: Poverty, Poverty and Poverty’. He has also published a number of peer-reviewed articles in internationally reputable journals like Historical Geography and Global Environment.

Beresford Clarke, Head of Research, SFA (Oxford)

The Platinum Standard – Market review

Since 2003, Beresford has specialised in all aspects of PGM supply, demand and price forecasting for strategic business planning purposes. He has led numerous bespoke consultancy assignments for major industry stakeholders, new market entrants and financial institutions and provides immediate solutions for regular clients who require PGM market intelligence for decision-making purposes. He also spent time producing commodity market briefings and price forecasts for hedge funds. 

After spending two years working for an exploration company in Africa and completing his postgraduate studies in mineral economics, Beresford worked for VM Group as a Precious Metals Analyst, specialising in the global supply, economics, exploration and mining of PGMs and gold. Since joining SFA he has produced research on all aspects of the PGM market, including end-uses, price forecasting methodologies, producer economic modelling, and has conducted a ground-up valuation of every junior PGM project on the Bushveld.

After the event, SFA (Oxford) held its 10th-anniversary celebration at Oxford University's Divinity School, Bodleian Library where delegates and speakers were invited to attend a wine and cheese tasting, and as one of the University's oldest surviving buildings, this stunning piece of architecture is home to its Faculty of Theology.

For our clients, those who have contributed to the many successes of SFA since 2002, we compiled a commemorative book that takes an anthological look at the platinum industry over the last 10 years, whilst also projecting out 10 years into the future, forecasting the likely peaks and troughs over and through which platinum will likely be pulled. Each client received their own personal copy as a token of our gratitude for all their support over the past decade, a decade which has proved as predictably unpredictable for SFA as it has the platinum industry.

History of the Oxford Platinum Lectures

Since SFA (Oxford)'s first event in 2010, the Oxford Platinum Lectures have become an annual staple of the London Platinum Week calendar. Here you can read up on the history of on SFA's annual event that brings together individuals from companies representing the entire platinum industry value chain.

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