Committees & Working Groups

Security Committee

The Security Committee (SecCom) unites experts from the membership and discusses such topics as the identification of materials by fingerprinting procedures, safety provisions at their plants and operations and the management of thefts. The SecCom also provides a platform for interaction with law enforcement bodies on crime trends and modus operandi, pertaining to illegal trafficking of PGM bearing material.

Hence, whenever possible, the Security Committee invites law enforcement bodies to participate at its meetings in order to strengthen public-private-partnerships.
The committee is currently chaired by Juergen Mueller-Schaefer, Compliance Officer, Heraeus, and Roman Gudov, Head of Corporate Security Department, Norilsk Nickel.

PGM Science Task Force

Recent developments in exposure limit setting, particularly related to risk assessment of halogenated platinum salts (HPS), clearly indicate that limit-setting bodies and other regulatory agencies have started moving towards much more restrictive workplace and general environment standards.

Within the workplace, the platinum industry has done extensive work to protect its workers, e.g. by the substitution of HPS by other platinum salts (where feasible), comprehensive medical surveillance programmes, and a drive to reduce workplace exposures well below the existing mandatory occupational exposure limits. However, the PGM industry also acknowledges the current uncertainties related to chloroplatinate allergy exposure-response relationships in humans, and the need for a state-of-the-art research effort in order to fill the data gaps in this area. Such an evidence-based approach is likely to result in more realistic risk assessments which are not heavily skewed by precautionary principle thinking.

The current focus is HPS and the health effect of respiratory sensitisation. Aside from specific impacts on refining and production operations involving chloroplatinates, wider implications are anticipated for platinum compounds and platinum more generally, e.g. in autocatalyst applications. In the longer term, regulatory body assessments of other PGMs such as palladium and rhodium are a further possibility.

To respond to these challenges the industry formed the PGM Health Science Research Group, and its Science Task Force (STF). On its inception, two of its key objectives were to provide validated robust methods for quantifying and low level exposures to allergenic Pt species, and to radically improve the understanding of exposure-response relationships for chloroplatinate allergy, e.g. as to what represents a true threshold for sensitisation induction. The PGM industry believes that it is the sector's responsibility to identify standards which are definitively health-protective but which are not so unnecessarily precautionary that they are economically damaging. To fulfil that responsibility, the PGM sector is voluntarily progressing the required research programmes that will ensure that the industry remains a credible partner in both the arena of scientific and regulatory discussions.

The work of the Science Task Force is performed by members of different teams:

  • Analytics & Speciation
  • (Bio-) transformation & Toxicology
  • Workplace Exposure Characterisation
  • Epidemiology
  • Editorial

The Science Task Force is currently chaired by Bert Swennen, Group Director, Health & Safety, Umicore, and Mark Raffray, Independent consultant (former employee of Johnson Matthey).

Sustainability Committee

The role of the Sustainability Committee (SusCom) is:

  • to serve as a common platform for the exchange on sustainability and of best practices;
  • to support IPA member companies in acting as responsible players through communicating the responsibility of the industry;
  • to share knowledge and evolve best practices
  • to discuss and communicate issues openly with IPA members to further raise the level of sustainability thinking.

The committee looks into a variety of topics, including the complex business environment of PGM mining and fabrication; conformity with international standards and business ethics; safety, health and social standards; the industry's responsibility for the environment and the contribution of PGMs to the development of clean technologies; energy efficiency and recycling; as well as sustainability in the supply chain.

One of the latest projects of the SusCom has been the conclusion of an industry-wide Life Cycle Assessment Study of PGMs under the umbrella of the IPA. The LCA data can be made accessible to interested LCA experts via our LCA Questionnaire.

SusCom also jointly developed collateral information material on:

  • The Primary Production of PGMs;
  • The Secondary Production and Recycling of PGMs;
  • Autocatalysts and PGMs;
  • The Environmental Profile of Platinum Group Metals;
  • The Life Cycle Assessment of Platinum Group Metals;
  • The Socio-Economic Development in the PGM industry.

All documents are available for download here: http://ipa-news.com/index/platinum-group-metals/pgm-fact-sheets.html

The SusCom is currently chaired by Jeremy Coombes, Consultant, former employee of Johnson Matthey.

Communications Committee

A group of experts within the membership regularly discusses communication issues related to PGMs. The Communications Committee is currently chaired by Wilma Swarts, Head of Marketing, Lonmin Plc.