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The Oxford Platinum Lectures 2015

Platinum dependency: Regular, risky, and
experimental market arguments

Friday 15th May, Merton College, University of Oxford

In 2015, SFA (Oxford) was proud to celebrate six years of hosting the Oxford Platinum Lectures. In response to the unprecedented challenges facing the platinum market, we invited leading international experts to provide insightful presentations on pathways to new opportunities for the platinum industry. The event focuses on a future for platinum-group metals that is as uncertain as ever, with fundamental shifts currently occurring across the value chain that will likely change forever these vital commodities.

For this event, we brought together authorities from across the platinum landscape to discuss the shape of tomorrow's metal markets by way of creative thinking and collective discussion, in an attempt to the some of the major issues ailing our industry, and challenged by our speakers to consider the bigger picture.

An alternative perspective on the benefits of low-cost operating was showcased, against an industrial background of falling demand, escalating input costs, and lost productivity.

With significant steps taken to reduce risks, relations between company and workforce have stabilised working conditions

In the longer-term fossil fuel alternatives, most notably electric vehicles, are a growing inevitability for the PGM industry, as the imperative for cleaner alternatives to the likes of diesel that have historically relied on PGMs to reduce their polluting properties.

Our guest speakers

Steve Phiri, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Bafokeng Platinum

A new low-cost platinum mining plan (Styldrift)

Steve was appointed to the Board as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on 1 April 2010. He joined RBPlat from Merafe Resources, a ferrochrome company listed on the JSE, where he was Chief Executive Officer for six years. He previously headed up corporate and legal affairs for Royal Bafokeng Nation.

Cynthia Gruber, Director, Strategy and New Business Development,
Mobile Emissions and Precious Metals BASF

PGMs Are Here to Stay

At BASF, Cynthia led the precious metals 10-year strategy approved by the board, and in collaboration with the central technology organization, created a 5-year investment plan for the mobile emissions business, a process that will be replicated throughout the business division.
Cynthia also played a key role in detailing the market and business justification for investments, acquisitions, licensing, strategic supplier contracts and site closure projects for values up to €500 million.

Cynthia developed BASF's long-term view of the precious metals industry presenting it bi-annually to senior executives of our strategic partners and customers and maintained BASF's mobile emission strategic market modelling tool. She also produced the Catalyst division's quarterly and spot competitive intelligence reports distributed to senior leaders and board members.

Johann Erasmus, Director, Africa ETF Issuer Standard Bank

Will ETFs continue to entice PGM end-users?”

Johan developed the Bank’s exchange-traded products (ETN / ETF), which included the largest palladium and rhodium ETFs. He was managing executive for the Business Development team in Global Markets for identifying and implementing new business lines and products, managing special situations, cross-asset structuring and structured capital markets financing and investments. Johann's team serviced internal and external clients, comprising corporates clients, public sector entities and institutional investors.

His core competencies spanned regulatory frameworks, exchange control, tax, structured notes, structured credit, insurance, SPVs, structured finance and complex structured derivatives products in SA and the rest of Africa. Johann's experience covers all the derivative classes (equities and FICC) and underlying finance transactions where applicable, as well as structured credit, syndication/distribution, risk repackaging, capital optimization, and regulatory requirements and related structures for general deal optimisation, risk management and distribution.

Al Bedwell, Director, Global Powertrain LMC Automotive

Powertrain choices: Situation normal or all change?

Based in Oxford, UK, Al Bedwell leads LMC Automotive’s global research in the pivotal area of powertrain and e-Mobility trends. With more than 25 years of forecasting experience in the sector, he is now positioned as a highly respected commentator on a range of vital issues including conventional ICE evolution, the future of the diesel sector and the roadmap to a hybrid and EV Light Vehicle fleet.

He was the prime mover behind the creation, in 2010, of LMC Automotive’s model-level Global Hybrid and EV Forecast, now widely recognised as a benchmark forecast in the area of Light Vehicle electrification.

Al is a regular speaker at client and industry events in the automotive, energy, metals and related sectors. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hertfordshire, UK. Prior to joining LMC Automotive in 1997, he was a manager at automotive intelligence provider Polk Marketing Systems.

Sam Longman, Policy Manager for Environment Transport for London

The diesel debate: Limiting emissions in major cities

As Policy Manager for Environment at Transport for London, Sam is responsible for reducing harmful transport emissions, improving air quality, mitigating and adapting to climate change and promoting sustainable transport generally. He leads the team developing the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for London and published TfL's Transport Emissions Roadmap.

Previously Sam worked in Local Government, developing and delivering transport strategies and multi-million-pound capital programmes. He has an MSc in Transport from Imperial College London /& UCL.

Nick Tunnell, Aftersales Director, Hyundai Motor UK
(Introduction by Anglo American Platinum Ltd)

Growing the European Fuel Cell Market

Nick Tunnell was appointed as Hyundai's aftersales director in 2012 and oversees all of Hyundai Motor UK’s operations covering aftersales, commercial, technical, customer services, warranty and the aftersales field team.

Beresford Clarke, Managing Director and Head of Research, SFA (Oxford)

The diesel debate: Limiting emissions in major cities

Beresford’s principal remit is to service SFA (Oxford)'s wide range of clients worldwide. He has responsibility for the analyst team, product delivery and innovation, and is the lead research author. Beresford has been a metals market analyst for 13 years, covering platinum-group metals on a daily basis on behalf of clients, but also providing in-depth analysis on the lithium, cobalt, gold and other commodity markets.

The Platinum Standard 2015

In addition, Beresford Clarke presented the latest issue of The Platinum Standard. This highly sought-after publication provides SFA’s market view and collates all the key industry data and indicators for the past 12 months.


Edition 3 – Featured articles


  1. The platinum investment compass

    Dr Ralph Grimble, Principal Market Analyst: Commodities & Financial Markets, SFA (Oxford)

  2. The global jewellery market

    Nicholas Graham Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Platinum Guild International, London

  3. The diesel debate: Arguments for and against

    Greg Archer: Managing Consultant: Gaian Ltd


Download the May 2015 report

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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