Northam’s business relies on the two primary operating assets – the Zondereinde and Booysendal PGM mines, and its own metallurgical operations, including a base metals removal plant and smelter, located on the Zondereinde lease area. Northam is independent of the major South African platinum producers and refines its metal through Heraeus, both in Port Elizabeth and in Hanau, Germany. Northam’s in-house marketing department is responsible for marketing and sales of product both domestically and to the major global markets in Asia, Europe and North America.
Northam – products and end uses
Northam’s primary products are the main three PGMs – namely platinum, palladium and rhodium. The primary consumers of these metals are the motor manufacturing industry, the jewellery industry, and other industrial sectors.
In the automotive sector PGMs are used in exhaust systems, specifically in autocatalysts, which help to reduce the noxious gases which are released into the atmosphere. Platinum jewellery has traditionally had huge appeal in Asia; the global jewellery sector accounted for uptake of approximately 38% of platinum in 2015. Other industrial uses range from chemical and electrical applications to glass manufacture.
PGMs have recently also attracted investment appeal, with the launch of Exchange Traded Funds, which gives investors exposure to physical metal holdings.
Northam's healthy, diversified asset portfolio