SA Platinum Producers to Launch Promotion Body

PlatinumJohannesburg: South African platinum producers are planning to launch an industry body to promote investment demand for the precious metal in the coming months aimed at boosting sales in the face of falling prices, industry and banking sources said.

The new body, to be called the World Platinum Investment Council, is likely to be based in London or Johannesburg, the sources told Reuters.

“This is a collaborative industry initiative. The aim is to promote investment into platinum,” said a source at a producer, who declined to be named.

The source said the world’s top platinum producers Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum were heavily involved but several of the smaller companies in the sector were also taking part in the discussions and would likely sign up and help finance it.

The establishment of the body, with a role similar to the World Gold Council, and Platinum Guild International, which markets the metal to the jewelry trade, would once more highlight the lack of a similar organization to promote demand for diamonds and diamond jewelry following the withdrawal of De Beers funding several years ago for generic diamond marketing worldwide.

“There have been a number of meetings on this issue and they are still ongoing. We are looking for a launch date and are hoping to do it before the end of the year,” another producer source told the newswire.

Banking sources told Reuters that industry executives had met with London banks in July to discuss the council.

In a speech in August, Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith said the industry would be launching a body to promote investment demand. He said $13 billion of platinum is held as an investment, which is a significant amount despite limited promotion by the industry, but still far lower than investment holdings of gold.

In a presentation to analysts last month, Amplats said it was focusing on promoting platinum demand via a joint producer funded entity to be launched in the last quarter of this year. A company spokesman told Reuters that the company could not provide further details until the initiative was finalized.