Trusted advisors on operations and investment due diligence
SFA (Oxford) has assisted all of the major South African mining producers on a variety of consultancy assignments, including the due diligence of operations, assessment of strategic opportunities and synergy evaluation, human resources cost and efficiency analysis and optimal workforce management, financial modelling of operating divisions and projects, and augmentation of business plans. SFA has conducted comprehensive, long-term reviews of the platinum group metals and battery raw materials industries, and assessed market conditions and commercial outlooks for mining and exploration companies.
SFA has delivered detailed valuations and investment analysis on a number of junior mining projects as well as the augmentation of several producers’ investment cases, and assisted in pre-feasibility and feasibility studies for juniors. Many of these projects have led to either an asset sale or successful acquisition of the project concerned. SFA has also produced comprehensive competitor analysis of the junior sector, including the benchmarking of selected projects against the peer group and mapping of commercial project options.
Independent market assessment for project financing
Assessment of global PGM supply, the impact of the restructuring of the South African industry, and the importance of chrome, iridium and ruthenium to mine revenue
SFA (Oxford) undertook an analysis of current and future global trends and influences acting on PGMs along with long-term price forecasts. Key PGM producers and their strategies were identified, as well as PGM projects that are likely to commence producing in the coming years or are currently producing and which are expected to have a significant impact on global PGM supply. PGMs produced as by-products of base metal production were examined, and an assessment was made of the contribution of chrome, iridium and ruthenium to mine revenue and the potential impact on supply.
Peer group depletion study
Development of a compelling rationale for the investment community and stimulation for a re-rating in a PGM producer's share price based on its costs of production compared with those of the industry
The SFA (Oxford) team carried out a comparative analysis that provided a stark contrast of peer-group depletion rates both physically (ore reserve attrition) and economically (price-induced attrition). This depletion study clearly highlighted the quality of a producer’s assets (including exceptional optionality in production and quality of its reserves) that gives it an edge against acute industry depletion.
Asset ranking and profit performance
Independent modelling and scenario extrapolation to benchmark and stress test client's mining assets
SFA (Oxford) employed its practical mining and metallurgical knowledge of the Southern African PGM peer group and global players and extrapolated macro and micro scenarios of PGM market and metal price outcomes to augment the client’s strategic assessment of its assets.
Supply security for end-users
An all-inclusive extrapolation of Southern African PGM production
SFA (Oxford) carried out an assessment of likely scenarios of the size, shape and structure of the Southern African platinum group metals mining industry to 2040 so as to aid a client to evaluate its metal supply requirements, now and in the future.
Joining the dots on the battery metals
A detailed evaluation and investor’s guide on how EV uptake is developing and how individual supply chains for cobalt, lithium and nickel are evolving
The SFA (Oxford) team produced long-term market outlooks for lithium, nickel and cobalt to 2040 for a major mining company, evaluating the deployment of electric vehicles and future metal demand. The team assimilated the breakdown of electric vehicle chemistries by type and regional variability (NMC for EU, LFP for China etc.), supplied a detailed review of the major battery fabricators and calculated battery metal demand by OEM.
Additional supply chain analysis covered the current market status quo, technology evolution, producer reserves and resources, historical supply and demand, demand segments and uses, value chain economics, major producer metal profiles, regional ESG factors, metal substitution risk, price forecasting, and identifying new investment windows of economic opportunity.
Synergies associated with consolidation
Exploration of strategic options for industry consolidation
SFA (Oxford)’s constant monitoring of the industry dynamics, and consequent vigilance of many in the global PGM peer group has led to a unique track record of modelling and assessing strategic opportunities. In this assignment, SFA (Oxford) identified, evaluated and quantified potential synergies associated with a combination of industry consolidation. We developed business cases for consolidation from the perspectives of each party and prioritised target companies.
Augmentation of a PGM producer’s business plan
Verified key shaft production parameters
Alongside the client’s management team, we firmed up and verified key shaft production parameters. This included analysing development rate assumptions, the scrutiny of mine layouts (mechanised versus conventional) referencing geological plans, and the upcoming geological drilling schedule. Assessments of stoping rates and team efficiencies against the shaft construction schedule were also undertaken.
Palladium market fundamentals and project contextualisation
Analysis of the palladium market and mining industry cost curve ranking of a palladium project for a presentation to investors
The SFA (Oxford) team completed an analysis of the palladium market, detailing fundamentals including supply, demand, stock levels, prices, and the peer group cost curve comparisons. This provided the basis of a presentation to select investors.
Indicative valuation of a cobalt deposit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
An independent articulation of the investment case
A significant mining conglomerate requested SFA to evaluate a cobalt deposit in the DRC and appraise its investment potential. The team assessed the resource potential, mining strategy, processing routes, and developed an NPV model to evaluate the attractiveness of the resource using different market price scenarios and critical project success factors.
PGM industry cost curve analysis
Interactive historical PGM producer cost curve analysis
Provision of historical industry cost curve data analytics back to 2000, creating a level playing field for comparison. The cost curve data pack separately listed operating cash costs and stay-in-business capital. In addition, production/revenue segmented by metal (Pt, Pd, Rh, Au, Cu, Ni) was presented in a manner that allowed cost data manipulation and benchmarking.
Shareholder assurance achieved
A strategic diagnostic of a major PGM producer
Through an in-depth assessment of a PGM producer’s reserves and resources, in-situ assets, benchmarked cost position and business model, SFA (Oxford) worked alongside one of the producer’s major shareholders and its Board, helping it to better understand its competitive position versus that of its peers, and how investment might be optimised over the coming five to ten years.
Market development assignment: Platinum investment
Enhancing investors' understanding of the fundamentals driving the platinum market
The SFA (Oxford) team provided independent research and analysis to an organisation formed by six leading platinum producers to develop the market for platinum investment. SFA's data and analysis helped to ensure greater transparency of the global platinum market and the delivery of regular data to potential investors.
Benchmarking lithium assets relative to the peer group
Cost optimisation and strategic planning
SFA (Oxford) was commissioned to benchmark a lithium producers’ assets across the global peer group to assess its operational competitiveness and evaluate future strategic value chain opportunities.
An assessment of opportunities to increase a company's PGM output
SFA (Oxford) undertook an investigation of potential business growth opportunities to meet a client's aggressive PGM production target.
Augmentation of a PGM producer’s business plan
In order to independently assess the timeline for project delivery against this PGM producer’s business plan and delivery schedule, SFA (Oxford) assessed and verified key shaft production parameters (development rates), mine plan in relation to geology (extraction rates), construction schedule (logistics, reef, material handling), mine layout (mechanised versus conventional), stoping rates and team efficiencies, thereby verifying logistical challenges and determining whether any significant bottlenecks prohibit the shaft from reaching its full potential. The shaft’s planned performance was then benchmarked against the wider sector to identify its competitive edges.
An independent appraisal of market conditions and the commercial outlook for one of South Africa’s major PGM producers
The team compiled credible, long-range PGM pricing inputs for a mine's divestment case. The report articulated potential future outcomes for platinum group metals demand and primary and secondary supplies and economics, as well as the macroeconomic environment impacting on long-term metal prices.
Developing pitch book documentation for lithium clients for contractual purposes
Keeping lithium players informed for commercial success
SFA (Oxford) has aided lithium producers with industry and regional contextualisation, lithium market outlooks and price forecasts to strengthen supply chain negotiations and enhance market messaging.
Asset consolidation achieved
A detailed benchmarking and synergy evaluation for a PGM producer’s joint venture
Working alongside an investment bank, SFA (Oxford) carried out site visits to, and a detailed benchmarking of, a junior’s PGM project against a peer group of South African projects, providing an investment case for the company as part of a proposed project bid. The study critically evaluated the potential synergies and improvements likely to be gained from a joint venture and took into account: geology, reserves and resources, mining, timing, risks and opportunities, and metal price and rand exchange movements.
Project peer group benchmarking
A stand-alone report to complement a bankable feasibility study that benchmarks a project against PGM peers and projects
This was a stand-alone report that provided a detailed examination of the global PGM industry, with an analysis of the supply and demand trends of PGMs. The report gave an independent, economically derived, medium- to long-term view on metal prices: platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium and ruthenium. It included a comparison of the project with those of industry peers, including greenfield/brownfield projects.
Evaluation of cost-cutting measures and ore mix optimisation
An independent, due-diligence review of a major South African producer’s operations
With a view to leveraging greater value through improved production in line with business planning, SFA (Oxford) worked alongside the PGM producer’s management team, referencing past achievements so as to identify future risk, and challenging its operational planning to ensure maximum value. The producer’s business plan was reviewed in detail, taking into account shaft performances, with analysis and benchmarking of the wider sector also included, ultimately creating detailed mine valuations.
Evaluating nickel assets in Australasia
Unlocking the full potential of nickel assets
SFA (Oxford) assisted a due diligence team in assessing nickel mines and projects across Australasia for strategic investment consideration.
The team critically evaluated the significance of the nickel targets, provided long-term price forecasts for input into financial models, identified potential market premiums, interrogated downstream investment optionality, assessed technical product risks and offtake agreement strategies, and market contextualisation.
Acquisition due diligence
Assessment and financial modelling of a major producer’s operating divisions and projects
We provided our client with an independent evaluation of a PGM producer’s investment options, looking at its reserve base, life-of-mine, regional economics/advantages, ore economics, potential value creation, competitive factors and capital requirements.
Consulting in support to defend a hostile takeover
SFA (Oxford) worked alongside a major PGM producer and a leading investment bank to build a credible corporate defence case.
An evaluation of contractor and owner-operated mines
Comparative analysis of the performance of contract mining versus owner-operated PGM mines
This assignment compared contract mining with owner-operated models employed on each new PGM project, undertaken by listed mining companies during start-up and then steady-state, since 1997 in South Africa and Zimbabwe. It included a comparative analysis of performance and costs, contrasting the relevant mining methods and consequent workforce models. The analysis provided valuable insight into productivity achievements and production timelines focusing on those contracts used in platinum mining. A review of other sectors was also completed to determine whether the contracts currently in use in the platinum sector are in line with any trends that are being observed in other areas. A strategic recommendation on the approach in terms of the contractor vs. owner-operated for a specific project, that lowered project risk to reach steady-state production was provided.
Evaluating nickel assets on behalf of a client
Supporting growth strategies in new markets
SFA (Oxford) helped to assess nickel targets across the Americas for acquisition.
The team assessed the targets in context with global peer groups, provided long-term price forecasts for financial models, and evaluated downstream processing optionality and offtake agreements.
Mine labour reviews
Cost and efficiency analysis of a mining company's human resources: maximising workforce performance
In assisting a client in the implementation of a progressive shaft improvement schedule, SFA (Oxford) identified and analysed key areas of labour underperformance (health, skills mismatch, prolonged absenteeism, unproductive labour etc.) so as to create additional value through increased productivity, and thus facilitating more cost-effective business planning. We helped to develop value-creating inputs for the strategic planning process to optimise future workforce skills and training going forward.
Future workforce planning
A historical study of the relationship between optimal workforce management and successful mining ramp-ups in South Africa
In order to gauge post-ramp-up success (including schedule, sustainability etc.) in relation to different types of workforce, SFA (Oxford) carried out a comparative analysis of each mine using the relevant mining method and consequent workforce model as variables. The study detailed the mining method and consequent workforce model employed on each new project and a comprehensive reference (contract labour) document was produced.
Independent assessment of a PGM project
SFA (Oxford) provided an up-to-date, high-level case for investment in a project against other global projects and operations, to be made available to a potential joint venture partner.
The PGM junior sector: comprehensive competitor analysis
Led to an asset sale
On a mine-by-mine basis, SFA (Oxford) carried out a benchmarking analysis on the projects that populate the PGM junior sector following the 2008 financial crisis, in order to provide the client with a coherent, competitive view of the sector.
Lithium asset due diligence in North America
Mining and processing technical support and asset benchmarking
SFA (Oxford) was tasked to assist the due diligence team of a potential new lithium mine in North America. Along with a site visit, the team analysed all facets of the company and project including its corporate structure, peer-group benchmarking, reviewing the mine plan, processing plant evaluation and offtake partner assessment.
Project valuations for, and augmentation of, a Southern African PGM producer’s investment case
Led to an asset sale
SFA (Oxford) assisted a junior mining company through pre-feasibility and feasibility by way of providing detailed discounted cash flow (DCF) project evaluations, independent metal price forecasts and a PGM market chapter for the company’s feasibility study.
A bankable feasibility study for a junior PGM producer
Led to an asset sale
Through the benchmarking of the cost and profit dynamics of a South African PGM junior project against those of both its local peers and global competitors, and provision of an independent view on the metal price dynamics of platinum-group markets, SFA (Oxford) successfully assisted the company and its banking partners through the final stages of a project feasibility study.
Independent market analysis
An assessment of the threats facing South African chromite producers
SFA (Oxford) led a critical analysis of the state of the PGM and chrome markets in South Africa. The analysis included a review of the primary revenue streams generated by producers of PGMs and UG2 chromite concentrates, an assessment of the probability of capacity reductions and closures among existing producers, and a high-level assessment of the consequent market and commercial impacts on a dual chrome/PGM producer.
Initial public offering cobalt chapter
Cobalt market overview to support an Asian copper producer
SFA (Oxford) provided an independent chapter of concise market commentary on the global cobalt market, detailing cobalt by-product and primary cobalt supply, demand trends, trading conditions and pricing of the metal.
Initial public offering chrome chapter
Initial public offering of a major chrome producer in South Africa
SFA (Oxford) provided an independent chapter of concise market commentary on the global chrome industry, detailing supply and demand trends, trading conditions and pricing of the metal.
Mine and project due diligence on behalf of its clients
SFA (Oxford) and its associates have also conducted evaluations of gold mines and projects globally.
Solutions for miners
SFA offers a broad spectrum of services for miners in PGMs and battery metals and materials, applying our strategic focus and bespoke approach to meet your needs.
SFA has significant experience in reviewing mine business plans, identifying production risks and reviewing costs down to a half-level basis.
Working with clients and third parties, SFA has a long track record of providing technical due diligence and financial modelling support to help secure funding.
Clients have used SFA to provide the analytical link with banks and financial institutions to support PGM investment decision-making and provide market support.
SFA has supported numerous client listings by providing an independent view of the PGM markets to help secure capital from potential investors.
Our PGM peer-group benchmarking is unrivalled, providing you with a detailed understanding of which assets are outperforming and which are most at risk.
SFA realises cost synergies for PGM clients across company operations to help raise margins and improve production efficiency benchmarks.
The SFA team has completed many labour workforce projects, analysing demographic trends, forecasting future labour requirements across mining operations.
With extensive experience covering the PGM markets and industry fundamentals, SFA can provide you with our latest market outlook and the window of scenarios.
SFA is a trusted advisor to Board members and senior management of significant stakeholders and provides regular assistance to strategy and planning efforts.
SFA can provide accurate short-, medium- and long-term PGM price forecasts to support your business plans and contract negotiations.
SFA provides regular data flows of mine supply and metallurgical pipelines, basket prices, mine economics, and PGM demand to assist strategic decision-making.
SFA has extensive experience in assessing clients' advanced mineral processing offtake options and evaluating indicative commercial terms.
Clients approach SFA to run their own supply and macro modelling demand inputs to see the impact this has on the medium- to long-term PGM market balances.
SFA supports its clients on global roadshows to assist on capital raisings and converse with fund managers, institutional investors and family wealth officers.
The SFA team is constantly providing rich insights for its clients on structural events moving the PGM markets, particularly when the situation continues to change.
Working with clients and third parties, SFA has a long track record of providing battery metals technical due diligence and financial modelling support.
Clients have used SFA to provide the analytical link with banks and financial institutions to support investment decision making and provide robust market support.
SFA has supported numerous client listings by providing an independent view of the lithium, nickel and cobalt markets to help secure capital from potential investors.
SFA's battery metals benchmarking is unrivalled, providing you with a detailed understanding of which assets are outperforming and those most at risk.
SFA is a trusted advisor to boardrooms and senior management to major stakeholders and provides regular assistance to battery metals strategy and planning.
SFA provides accurate short- to long-term battery metal price forecasts to support your business plans and contract negotiations, backed by our extensive research.
SFA has extensive experience assessing clients battery metal processing facilities and offtake options and supply chain offtake due diligence.
SFA regularly supports clients on roadshows to assist on capital raisings and converse with fund managers, institutional investors and family wealth offices.
The SFA team is constantly providing rich insights for its clients on structural events moving the battery metals markets and battery technology substitution.
SFA works closely with value chain players to understand how materially significant ESG issues can be integrated into their wider company strategy.
SFA's benchmarking of battery metal producers on material ESG factors generates high-resolution insights for sustainability-conscious investors.
SFA evaluates the strategic opportunities of other strategic battery materials such as manganese, vanadium, copper, graphite, silica, and rare earth elements.
SFA works with value chain players to navigate green hydrogen opportunities, energy solutions, market risks and emerging zero-carbon technologies.
SFA identifies investment and commercial opportunities for players across the hydrogen value chain, and where green hydrogen can be best utilised for investment.
SFA evaluates electrolyser and competing technology economics, growth opportunities and market risks for PGM based-technologies and thrifting.
SFA provides long-term precious metal supply security outlooks for platinum, iridium and ruthenium using detailed modelling of mine supply and recycling.
With SFA’s Hydrogen Mobility Watch, we can help you track the development of hydrogen fuel cell initiatives and infrastructure development projects underway.
SFA is closely following the green hydrogen water electrolyser and mobility players and projects underway across the industry, and national strategy developments.
SFA is developing its capabilities to benchmark individual green hydrogen projects to assess the long-term viability of industrial players becoming more competitive.
SFA assesses the main international legal frameworks for green hydrogen development, penalties and incentives, implications and end-use sector opportunities.
SFA is a trusted advisor to the Boards and senior management of major stakeholders and provides regular assistance to hydrogen strategy and planning efforts.
North America has an ambitious hydrogen roadmap, leveraging decades of scientific and engineering developments, particularly in California.
Europe is home to some of the most innovative technologies, ambitious decarbonisation targets and national strategies, and strongest value chain networks.
Market outlook reports for miners
Released every three months, this price risk-focused report details-impacting factors for platinum, palladium and rhodium markets for the next three years.
Released annually in H1, our highly detailed market view provides current and long-term trends and influences acting on the global PGM markets.
This ground-breaking forward-looking annual report in H2 analyses the influences and trends on the PGM markets between 2023 and 2040.
SFA's new ground-breaking forward-looking report analyses the influences, market risks and trends on the PGM markets out to 2050.
Stay up-to-date with a quarterly 5-year forecast on ruthenium's technological developments and underlying evolution of supply, demand and end-use applications.
A comprehensive quarterly report on iridium market fundamentals and integration of future technologies for new and existing end-users.
A proprietary report unlocking the current and future demands for precious metals (Pt, Ir, and Ru) used in electrolysers and fuel cells for the hydrogen economy.
DCF scenario modelling analysing the attractiveness of global PGM projects based on incentivised PGM pricing which can motivate new supply.
An evaluation on future platinum, palladium and rhodium supply risk from mines and projects around the world, and the economic cost of production.
Analytics on the PGM primary production landscape, assessing estimated depletion rates of mines and projects, forecasting ounce loss.
Our quarterly price risk-focused report details factors impacting the lithium, nickel and cobalt markets for the next five years and future battery technology trends.
The SFA team completes a deep dive into the short- to long-term opportunities enabling the success of electric vehicle production across supported regions.
SFA evaluates the long and complex life-cycle analysis of lithium-ion battery raw materials to improve the opportunities available for market stakeholders.
Released four times a year, SFA's lithium price risk report details short- to medium-term factors impacting the lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide markets.
This ground-breaking, forward-looking report analyses the trends and influences on the lithium market and battery technologies out to 2040.
With high energy-intensive processes required to produce lithium hydroxide, SFA can help investors evaluate the sustainability of the lithium supply chain.
Released each quarter, SFA's nickel price risk-focused report details the factors impacting nickel sulphate demand, MHP and refined nickel for the next five years.
This ground-breaking, forward-looking report analyses the trends and influences on the nickel market and battery technologies out to 2040.
Released each quarter, SFA's cobalt price risk-focused report details cobalt supply and demand impacting factors for the next five years.
Released annually, this ground-breaking, forward-looking report analyses the trends and influences on the cobalt market and battery technologies out to 2040.
Argentina, Bolivia and Chile have long been low-cost sources of lithium supply for electric vehicles but greater ESG scrutiny means new processes must be adopted.
With Australia's abundance of battery raw materials, long-term challenges exist to develop its beneficiation strategy towards battery-grade precursor products.