Trusted processing advisors for miners, smelters and refiners
The SFA (Oxford) team has advised on the placement of concentrates and matte, right-sized mines to plant feeds and technology types, evaluated new processing technologies and motivated investment. We have identified and quantified South Africa’s PGM, base metal and waste product output from concentrators, smelters and refineries, estimated the production of secondary materials from each processing stage, and defined the typical chemical assay of each secondary material.
A study to identify the best processing route for a PGM producer’s concentrate
SFA (Oxford) mapped out the commercial options for a client’s concentrate, identifying and defining the various processing points (including capacity constraints) in the global value chain (quantifying product impact) for this concentrate from smelter to the refinery.
Identification and quantification of South Africa’s low-grade PGM waste products from concentrators, smelters and refineries
The SFA (Oxford) team compiled a list of South Africa’s PGM producers and respective concentrators, smelters and refineries, calculating the amount of PGMs produced on an annual basis for each metallurgical process, and estimating the production of secondary materials from each process and defining the typical chemical assay of each secondary material.
Processing options and commercial terms
An assessment of advanced mineral processing off-take options and indicative commercial terms for a new platinum mine
This assignment provided the client with a high-level depiction of South African PGM mineral processing capacities including concentrators, smelters, and base metal and precious metal refiners. In addition, it presented a high-level assessment of non-South African domiciled mineral processing options and addressed both the commercial challenges and legal constraints as defined by the South African Minerals Beneficiation Bill.
It identified the processing options that could potentially offer the client maximum value including an analysis of the payability of the product as ore, concentrate, matte and refined metal. The pros and cons of the processing options were examined, including the potential for advance payment, and indicative terms. A succinct, high-level report and strategic recommendation on mineral processing options were then provided to the client’s Executive Committee.
Independent analysis of the lithium hydroxide market out to 2025
The business case for downstream refining of battery-grade lithium hydroxide
SFA (Oxford) presented a detailed current and forecast lithium hydroxide (LiOH) market balance and analytical report to assess the medium-term LiOH market dynamics and pricing to advance the investment case for a new plant on behalf of a lithium producer.
Identification of future feed streams
Evaluation of PGM-grade waste material from South African operations
An analysis was conducted of the flows and typical grade of PGM waste material from the concentrating, smelting and refining processes of South African PGM producers, and the most relevant producers of PGM waste material for the client’s smelter and refinery.
Financial modelling and processing due diligence
Specialist consultants and financial modelling for a new PGM mining project in Zimbabwe
SFA (Oxford) acted as a specialist consultant to the lender in reviewing the business plan, processing strategy and financial model.
Business case crystallisation
Strategic workshop and contextualisation of the chrome industry
A strategic workshop was facilitated by SFA (Oxford) to crystallise a client’s business case for participation in the business of UG2 tailings dams and the retreatment of contained PGM waste, detailing the value-adding opportunities it presented to the company. The team also assisted the client through a contextualisation of the chromite concentrate market in terms of commercial price valuations for the concentrate.
Building battery factory databases on behalf of a lithium supplier
Identifying long-term battery production capacity and lithium requirements
A lithium producer approached SFA (Oxford) to build a comprehensive database of battery manufacturers, offtake agreements and MoU’s, product feeds, volumes and development timeframes to assess the pent-up demand requirements of battery makers to address long-term OEM electric vehicle production strategies out to 2030 and beyond, as well as lithium product requirements.
Market fundamentals and technical studies
Market intelligence, and mine and project due diligence
SFA (Oxford)’s expertise in chrome includes the listing of chrome companies and providing chrome and ferrochrome supply-demand market intelligence and price forecasts to support the feasibility and bankable feasibility studies to chrome companies globally. The studies quantified the contribution chrome ore revenues made to a platinum producer and provided price valuations and commercial terms for UG2 chrome concentrate to traders/ exporters. SFA has a full understanding of the chrome value chain for primary and secondary producers in South Africa.
Insight for strategic planning
PGM business intelligence for strategic planning purposes
SFA (Oxford) provided an estimation of PGM primary and secondary mine concentrate (base metal etc.) volumes by region, along with an explanation of refining treatment flows (player integration versus reliance on third-party toll treatment). This included estimates of the internal and, where applicable, external costs of producing concentrate.
The characterisation of primary and secondary PGM smelting and refining by region was analysed, including the main players, their capacities, their level of integration in the PGM chain, and, where possible, their utilisation rates and margins.
The spent autocatalyst collection market and associated infrastructure by region were researched and analysed, including the main players, collection efficiency rates by region and the typical business models employed.
Part of a due diligence team evaluating nickel processing plants
Assessing off-take targets for acquisition
The SFA (Oxford) analysts have aided a client to evaluate nickel processing plants across the globe for successful acquisition. To support the due diligence team we contextualised nickel targets, provided product price forecasts and augmented transactional rationale with detailed analysis and risks of changing the product portfolio to serve the battery industry and assessed average realised premiums.
Value addition and beneficiation strategy
A joint collaboration with major PGM players
SFA (Oxford) identified the critical factors required for an optimal PGM beneficiation model for a PGM producing region, independently assessed commercial metallurgical options, and an incentive framework for higher investment levels.
Reverse engineering of potential concentrate processing options
Leveraging off SFA (Oxford)’s vast PGM knowledge, relationships with the major smelters, and a ‘reverse-thinking’ metallurgical review to establish the smelter target envelope
SFA held a metallurgical review workshop and undertook site visits to a selection of smelters across the globe to establish which of the selected smelters would a) prefer to treat, b) tolerate, c) could be adjusted to take, a client's concentrate feeds in terms of composition, tonnage, and timing.
The team clarified the nature and indicative terms of a potential mineral processing agreement with each of the selected smelters. Using indicative commercial terms provided by the smelters, SFA undertook a financial simulation exercise to determine which concentrate options yielded the highest revenues, as well as defining the nature of test work required for reverse engineering an optimal concentrate specification for acceptance at the smelter, and the optimal window for processing.
Asia-Pacific Rim nickel-cobalt producer’s study
Nickel laterites and HPAL processing assessment
SFA (Oxford) conducted a regional analysis of all Asia-Pacific Rim nickel-cobalt producers from nickel laterite deposits, to identify all regional players, volumes and trading links, as well as focusing on HPAL (high-pressure acid lead) operations and projects, and providing a 5-year price view of the nickel and cobalt markets.
Solutions for processors
SFA offers a broad spectrum of services for mineral processing players in PGMs and battery metals and materials, applying our strategic focus and bespoke approach to meet your needs.
SFA has extensive experience in assessing clients' advanced mineral processing offtake options and evaluating indicative commercial terms.
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 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 is a trusted advisor to Board members and senior management of significant stakeholders and provides regular assistance to strategy and planning efforts.
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.
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 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 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 processors
SFA's advanced mineral processing assessment offers offtake opportunities into existing PGM smelting, base metals and precious metals refining facilities.
A detailed look at the precious metals recovered from PGM processing plant waste streams at concentrators, smelters and refineries, and tailings dams.
Released every three months, this price risk-focused report details-impacting factors for platinum, palladium and rhodium markets for the next three years.
Our highly detailed market view provides current and long-term trends and influences acting on the global PGM markets.
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.
In collaboration with Heraeus, this weekly report makes sure all the key precious metal and macroeconomic developments are fully analysed by the SFA team.
A comprehensive study of recycled autocatalysts from scrapyards, collection, decanners, smelting and refining players, technology developments and economics.
Unrivalled insights and definitive answers to PGM purchasing dynamics, metal flows, trading and pricing factors affecting platinum, palladium and rhodium.
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.
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.
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.
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.