Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat), a mid-tier and black-owned mining company, is the latest PGM (platinum group metals) producer to report stellar results in large part because of sky-high palladium and rhodium prices. These have also helped give South Africa a welcome shock on the terms of trade front.
RBPlat’s earnings per share surged 577% to 338 SA cents for the six months to the end of June from a loss of 70.8 SA cents in the same period in 2019. This was achieved in the face of the loss of 45 days of production time to the lockdown, which cost the group 54,000 ounces in output.
But PGM producers have benefited from palladium’s climb to record highs in February of more than $2,600 an ounce, while rhodium, which is much rarer, was more than $13,000 an ounce at one point in March. The two metals are key catalysts for gasoline engines, which are grabbing market share from diesel engines because of environmental concerns and regulatory policies. The price for both metals remains at historically elevated levels.
Stephen Phiri, CEO of Royal Bafokeng Platinum. (Photo: Halden Krog / Bloomberg via Getty Images)
This has hugely cushioned PGM producers — big and…