Trusted metallurgical advice from a dedicated team of experts
SFA (Oxford) has extensive experience in assessing clients' advanced mineral processing offtake options and evaluating indicative commercial terms at global smelters and refineries. The SFA team has completed numerous assignments, mapping the commercial options for mine concentrate, modelling all industry smelters and refineries, and identifying and defining the various processing points (including capacity constraints) in the global value chain for concentrate from smelter to the refinery.
Commercially evaluating processing value chain opportunities
SFA's relationships with smelters and refiners and our extensive expertise and supporting databases assist clients to add or create value within the metallurgical process linkages of the value chain, whether it is to:
Identify existing flowsheet risks and opportunities.
Evaluate commercial terms for a product.
Decide on the best processing route.
Consider options to fill a smelter or refinery.
Benchmark a process against that of peers.
Provide mass pull calculation.
Estimate CAPEX requirements and recoveries.
Quantify and evaluate tailings dams.
Obtain a second opinion on the suitability of new technology for feed.
In determining the best method for the client to process its PGM concentrate product, we compare the various market opportunities. This analysis provides a valuable assessment for the sale of the different PGM products at various positions in the value chain and examines the impact of moving up or down the value chain with each product. This approach helps the client to compare the economics of the sale of PGM concentrate.
Recently, we carried out a comparative analysis of white matte and green matte options (Platsol™ products) for one of our clients. This analysis typically takes into account the commercial terms that the client could expect to receive from the potential customer base. Included in the consultation, we provided the client with an understanding of the PGM market and the potential impact of its products on the market.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other PGM consulting solutions
Explore other services our clients use regularly.
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.
With extensive experience covering the PGM markets and industry fundamentals, SFA can provide you with our latest market outlook and the window of scenarios.
The SFA team has completed many labour workforce projects, analysing demographic trends, forecasting future labour requirements across mining operations.
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.
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.
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 PGM producers on material ESG factors generates high-resolution insights for sustainability-conscious investors.
SFA's analysis of environmental footprints from recycled material in terms of greenhouse gases, waste generation and processing is helping secure new investments.
For many years, SFA's extensive expertise in analysing the changing dynamics of global economies, financial markets and precious metals has enabled us to deliver bespoke research to enhance your next strategy.
SFA delivers detailed insights into the effects of new automotive technologies on PGM demand for light-duty, heavy-duty, off-road and fuel cell vehicles to meet government emission targets.
SFA has advised mobility companies with their strategies, providing global or local industry context, benchmarking competitors, creating industry scenarios and identifying new opportunities.
SFA has explored the purchasing dynamics between market participants, the complexity of the associated price web factors for platinum, palladium and rhodium, providing definitive answers to commercial questions.
SFA is constantly monitoring the evolution of emerging technologies and threats to new metal substitution. Let us cut through the noise, and highlight the short to long-term price risk impacts for your business.
SFA is equipped to provide detailed regional insights of the major players, market shares, demand volumes, and market value for automotive, chemical and petrochemical catalysts, and smaller industrial markets.
SFA's discreet work with recyclers gives us unique market insights, for the major regions of the USA, Europe, China and Japan. We also closely monitor jewellery recycling, electronic scrap and spent catalysts.
SFA has mapped jewellery pipelines, examined costs and margins, quantified future demand levels, and analysed the competitor landscape of fabricators, wholesalers, and retailers for future investment decision-making.
SFA analyses the physical movements of PGMs for demand-side and supply-side participants, how futures contracts are priced and traded, and quantifies above-ground PGM stocks from key sectors.
SFA can provide you with the most insightful 360-degree research covering the secret closed-loop market sectors by quantifying installed capacities, system losses and top-up requirements by company and sector.
SFA has significant experience mapping regional and localised end-use markets for PGMs to assist clients in discovering new trading opportunities and client targets by volume and sector.