History of The Oxford Platinum Lectures

Here you will find all the latest information on the Oxford Platinum Lectures, SFA (Oxford)'s annual conference that brings together individuals and companies from across the platinum industry for a day of thought-provoking presentations and intellectual debate based around the most pressing industry issues of the year.

SFA Conference, May 2017

SFA (Oxford)'s first platinum event was held in 2010, and since then the Oxford Platinum Lectures have become an annual staple of the London Platinum Week calendar, welcoming the PGM industry’s most important players to the UK, and to Oxford, for a day of thought-provoking presentations and passionate debate, facilitated by experts and intellectuals who will be asking and answering some of the most complex questions concerning platinum-group metals going forward

Each year, we decide on a theme for the Lectures, encompassing the most pressing issues of that particular year. In 2010 the topic was ‘The Changing Economic and Political World of PGMs’, with growing supply costs and the increasingly political subtext surrounding PGMs being our focus, and in 2011, for ‘Platinum: The Human Element’, our speakers presented on the price of neglecting mining’s most important asset – its people – and looked at mine safety, skill shortages and the impact of social and cultural trends on demand for jewellery. 

In 2012, ‘The Currencies and Currents of Tomorrow’s Platinum World’ was based around the idea of ‘change’ and the key factors likely to impact the industry most significantly in the coming years, including the euro crisis, fuel cells, the rand, and Zimbabwe after Mugabe. This was followed in 2013 with ‘PGM Recycling: A Waste(d) Opportunity?’, when our focus was on secondary supply and its growing impact on the PGM markets. 

The theme in 2014 was ‘PGMs: Rearranging the Value Chain’, focusing on fundamental shifts within the PGM value chain, and in 2015 it was ‘Platinum Dependency: Regular, Risky, and Experimental Market Arguments’, with the lectures tackling the topic of depressed commodities markets. 

In 2016, ‘Parts of the Sum: Powerful Players in Today’s PGM Buying Cycle’ focused on those parts of the value chain where major investments were being made. In May 2017, The rise of the informed consumer”, focused on the changing nature of PGM usage and understanding how the entire length of the value chain and, consequently, metal prices are impacted by the informed consumer’s buying patterns.

Speakers from across the PGM value chain, representing producers, end-users and investors, as well as professors from Oxford University are drafted in to offer conference delegates unique insights on these and other industry opportunities and challenges, making this one of the most exciting and eagerly awaited events of London Platinum Week.

2017: 'The rise of the informed consumer'

Our 2017 event focused on the changing nature of PGM usage and understanding how the entire length of the value chain and, consequently, metal prices are impacted by the informed consumer’s buying patterns.

The speakers included:  

Andreas Wittman  Managing Director  Linde Hydrogen Concepts

'A car sharing future using zero emissions hydrogen mobility'

Scott Brierley  Specialist is EVs for a major car manufacturer

'The electric car revolution: technology progress'

Alan Chan  Deputy General Manager  Chow Tai Fook

'Jewellery retalier strategies: adapting to changing Chinese consumer behaviour'

Jun Yamaguchi  President  Tokuriki Honten

'Platinum bars and jewellery: informed purchasing by the Japanese public'

Marcus Grubb  Director of Market Development  WPIC   

'Introducing new platinum investment products to reach new buyers'

2016: 'Parts of the sum: Powerful players in today's PGM buying cycle'

Our 2016 event discussed the fundamental shifts in the industry, with an emphasis on those parts of the value chain where major investments were being made, under the theme 'Parts of the sum: Powerful players in today's PGM buying cycle'.

The speakers included: 

Paul Dunne  CEO  Northam Platinum

'Critical investment success factors for tomorrow'

Neal Froneman  CEO  Sibanye Gold

'Why a gold producer is adopting a PGM value creation strategy'

Dr Katsuhiko Hirose  WPI Professor, International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research, Kyushu Univessity and Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Promotion Group, Toyota

'Where do precious metals lie on the journey towards the future of sustainable mobility?'

Anton Berlin  Head of Strategic Marketing  Norilsk Nickel

'Making palladium an investment priority for Norilsk'

Dr David Deegan  CTO  Tetronics  

'Investing in recycling - Rolling out small, easy-to-build, eco-friendly, high-tech smelters'

Huw Daniels  CEO  Platinum Guild International

'Jewellery - Restoring the lustre to platinum demand'

2015: 'Platinum Dependency: Regular, Risky, and Experimental Market Arguments'

Our 2015 event focused on a future for platinum-group metals, their future as uncertain as ever. This under the heading of '... Market Arguments', our six expert speakers examining separate areas of the industry, from new, low-cost mining practices to the raging diesel debate. Delegates then engaged in intellectual debate on eacho of these issues, offering opposing opinions to each of the key questions posed by the presenters.

Presentations included:

Steve Phiri  CEO  Royal Bafokeng Platinum

'A New Low-Cost Mining Plan (Styldrift)'

Cynthia Gruber - Director: Strategy and New Business Development  BASF

'PGMs Are Here to Stay'

Johann Erasmus  Director, Africa ETF Issuer  Standard Bank

'Will ETFs Continue to Entice PGM End-Users?'

Al Bedwell  Director, Global Powertrain  LMC Automotive

'Powertrain Choices: Situation Normal or All Change?'

Sam Longman  Policy Manager for Environment  Transport for London 

'The Diesel Debate: Limiting Emissions in Major Cities'

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

'Growing the European Fuel Cell Market'

2014: 'PGMs: Rearranging the Value Chain'

On Friday 16th May, 2014, The Oxford Platinum Lectures hosted 'PGMs: The Value Chain Rearrangement'. This special event took place in Oxford's prestigious Sheldonian Theatre, bringing together authorities from across the platinum landscape to discuss the fundamental changes through which the industry was going at this time, as supply slowly moved away from stalwart South Africa, and demand found new regions to exploit beyond Europe.

Presentations included:

Dr James Motlatsi – Chairman  The Employment Bureau of South Africa

'Saving South Africa: Notes on a Crisis'

Jean Nel  Chief Executive Officer  Aquarius Platinum

'Out of South Africa’s Shadow: The Advance of Zimbabwe'

Andrew Hinkly  Executive Head: Marketing  Anglo American Platinum

'A Perspective on the Future of Producer Marketing'

Vaishali Banerjee  Country Manager (India)  Platinum Guild International

'The Rise of the Tiger: India, the New Jewellery Giant'

Terry Shindo  Manager of Precious Metals  Sojitz Corporation

'Seconday Becomes Primary: Recycling and the PGM Supply Shift'.

For the first time at The Oxford Platinum Lectures, SFA (Oxford) presented its own industry-leading view of PGMs, as it unveiled The Platinum Standard, an agenda-setting PGM review, to be released bi-annually in May and September each year.

2013: PGM Recycling: A Waste(d) Opportunity?

2013 saw The Oxford Platinum Lectures held at one of the University of Oxford’s most prestigious academic establishments, St. Antony's College - at the Nissan Lecture Theatre no less, opened in 2006 by Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of the Nissan Motor Company.

The focus this year was on the market impact and potential of PGM recycling - with a roster of high-profile speakers, including:

Archie Myezwa – Anglo American

'Can the South African Mining Footprint Recover?'

Lee Hockey – Johnson Matthey

'Open- and Closed-Loop Recycling'

Michel Verhelst – Umicore

'PGM Recycling: A Bumpy Road Ahead?'

Frank Rettinger – Duesmann & Hensel

'Can EU Collections Increase?'

Shinya Kataoka – Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K.

'The Japanese Recycling Market'

2012: The Currencies and Currents of Tomorrow's Platinum World

In 2012 the Oxford Platinum Lectures examined the market malaise and political turmoil that characterised the industry and asked what the future might hold for PGMs. Of particular focus were: what the global economic picture might look like with a weaker rand and what this would mean for PGMs and South Africa itself; what the world can expect from a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe; and what the implications might be for the PGM supply-demand balance of both Europe’s teetering auto sector and the new wave of green technologies, such as fuel cells.

Held at Oxford University’s prestigious Sheldonian Theatre under the banner ‘The Currencies and Currents of Tomorrow’s Platinum World’, the event acted as a forum for delegates aiming at assuaging some of the political, social and economic uncertainties that are plaguing the industry. The focus of the Oxford Platinum Lectures 2012 was to pose the question ‘What happens next?’

In an attempt to answer this question, we brought together a selection of renowned specialists and academics from several fields to offer their thoughts and expertise, creating an exciting, topical and thought-provoking experience for an exclusive set of significant industry individuals.

Speakers included:

Pete Kelley – Managing Director, LMC Automotive

‘Accident Ahead: Signposts for the Approaching Euro Car Crash’

Kerry-Ann Adamson – Research Director, Pike Research

‘Lighting the Fuse on Fuel Cells… 18 Months to Ignition’

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

‘The South African Rand: Mine Rescuer?’

Vimbai Kwashirai – Associate Professor and Senior Researcher, Essen University

‘Zimbabwe After Mugabe’

2011: Platinum: The Human Element

May 2011 saw the second annual Oxford Platinum Lectures. Held on the eve of London Platinum Week, this event brought together a wide range of PGM industry officials and explored the altogether poorly publicised human side of PGMs – its workers. Under the heading of ‘Platinum: The Human Element’, speakers presented on topics including work and behaviourism, mine health and safety, the use of platinum in medical applications, the politics of platinum and skill shortage implications.

Once again we assembled a list of high-calibre speakers from across the PGM industry: professionals and academics offering conference delegates the chance to participate in intellectual debate on some of the most fascinating questions facing the industry.

Speakers included:

Dr Jon Andrews – Group Executive (HSE): Medical Services  Impala Platinum

‘Human Behaviour: Safety within the South African Platinum Industry’

Professor William Beinart – Rhodes Professor of Race Relations  Oxford University

‘Jacob Zuma: The Platinum President’

Jens Trotzschell – Business Unit Manager: Medical Components Department  W.C. Heraeus GmbH

‘Platinum and New Medical Applications

Paola De Luca – Co-Founder, Creative Director  TJF Group

‘Cultural and Social Preferences in Fine Jewellery’

Stephen Forrest – Director, Principal Consultant  SFA (Oxford) Ltd

‘PGMs: The Skills Shortage’

2010: The Changing Economic and Political World of PGMs

The first Oxford Platinum Lectures were held in 2010 to critical acclaim from all those who attended. Held on the eve of London Platinum Week, delegates were offered a unique and exciting event that saw our expert analysts and associate team of university professors offer a series of topically focused sessions covering the changing economics and political world of PGMs. Through the medium of free thinking and original presentations, speakers explored and discussed the issues and ideas surrounding the PGM industry.

Speakers included:

Dr Scott Livermore – Director of International Economics, Oxford Economics

‘How Secure is the Global Recovery?’

Dr Paul Chaisty  University Lecturer in Russian Relations

‘The Political and Economic Influence of Russia’

Vimbai Kwashirai – Associate Professor and Senior Researcher, Essen University

 ‘The Push and Pull of Politics and Economics in Zimbabwe’

William Gumede – Programme Director, SOAS, London University and University of Witwatersrand

‘The Relationship Between Economics and Politics in South Africa’