As part of its sustainability strategy to further establish sustainability thinking within the platinum group metals industry and to enhance the dialogue with stakeholders, the IPA and its members have conducted a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of platinum group metals (PGMs).
The PGM industry carried out this study in order to generate a reliable, current and independent dataset of the environmental footprint of PGMs and PGM-containing products and to enable it to identify areas in the PGM life cycle where it can improve its environmental performance.
IPA LCA STUDY
The IPA LCA Study, which was completed at the end of 2013, has quantified the environmental impact of primary and secondary production of PGMs for the first time on an industry-wide level. It is highly representative of the industry, covering 64% of the global PGM supply. The study results represent the global average primary and secondary production of PGMs by the participating members.
Based on the input from IPA members, the study focused on quantifying the environmental impact of the average production of PGMs, the fabrication of autocatalysts using PGMs as well as the use of these catalytic converters in a EURO 5 vehicle system over a lifetime of 160,000 km (in-use benefits of PGMs) to control vehicle exhaust pollution.
Eleven out of fifteen IPA members took part in the study, representing the primary producers of PGMs (70% representation), the secondary producers of PGMs (60%) as well as the fabricators of autocatalysts (90% representation).
The IPA LCA followed the "cradle-to-gate" approach which covers processes within the life cycle of the product from the extraction of the raw materials to the finished product.
As a service to our different audiences the Communications Committee of the IPA has put together a variety of fact sheets covering the different stages of the supply chain (primary production/mining, secondary production/fabrication and recycling) as well as autocatalysts as an example application.
The Environmental Profile of PGMs serves as a background document on the PGM industry. It presents basic information about PGMs (production, facts, applications) and explains the goal and scope of the IPA LCA Study as well as its key findings.
The LCA fact sheet summarizes the main technical and methodological information from the study and presents the main outcomes.
Our latest addition, the Socio Economic Development Fact Sheet, deals with the socio-economic challenges and benefits of PGM mining in South Africa.
The fact sheets available for download are:
- The Primary Production of Platinum Group Metals
- The Secondary Production and Recycling of Platinum Group Metals
- Autocatalysts and Platinum Group Metals
- The Environmental Profile of Platinum Group Metals
- The Life Cycle Assessment of Platinum Group Metals
- Socio-Economic Development in the PGM Industry
LCA DATA ACCESS
The data inventory (average industry data) may be made available to interested LCA practitioners and other target audiences upon request via our website questionnaire.
A task force peopled by IPA and member representatives will assess the requests and enter into a dialogue with the interested parties in order to decide upon data release.
In our "Frequently Asked Questions" document we have answered typical questions arising from the IPA LCA Study.