In this section, IPA provides some examples on how platinum group metals (PGMs) can be used in order to create technologies and appliances that contribute to sustainable development. Other articles look at activities of our industry in fields related to sustainability such as recycling.
Continuously Improving Car Catalysts for Cleaner Air
Since the invention of the automotive catalytic converter in 1976, platinum group metals
have played an integral role in the reduction of air pollution from vehicle exhaust. As emissions control standards around the world continue to increase, BASF Catalysts is at the forefront of developing innovative solutions to increase the effectiveness of this critical technology.
Today, modern cars emit up to 99% less exhaust pollutants than 30 years ago thanks to platinum group metals (PGMs) and their integral role in catalytic converters.
Find out more and read the BASF Case Study here
Towards a Global Recycling Society
European legislation such as the End-of-Life Vehicle Directive (2000) and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (2003) aim at saving natural resources through improved reuse and material recovery. At first sight, these legislative meausres appear to be on the right track. In reality however, we are far from achieving high recylcing rates for important trace elements such as platinum group metals. New ideas, new partnerships and a global perspective will be required to close the loop and truly become a recycling society.
The Pursuit of Operational and Environmental Excellence
Anglo American Platinum, the world's largest producer of platinum group metals, has made a heavy investment in the upgrade of its Waterval Smelter.
The installation of the new converters and acid plant has reduced sulphur emissions at the smelter to well below the legal limit, and consequently, set a new standard for the metals industry. The project demonstrates the industry's commitment to investing in new technologies in the pursuit of operational and environmental excellence.
Read here how Anglo American Platinum has managed to reduce its SO2 emissions at the plant by over 90%.
Proactively Managing HIV & AIDS
The platinum group metals (PGM) industry has significant exposure to HIV & AIDS in its workforce, particularly in southern Africa where HIV & AIDS rates are high, and where 75% of the world's supply of PGMs is produced.
As a significant employer in the region, the PGM industry is in a position to influence the course of this disease.
The business case for doing so is strong, for both employee well-being and positive financial impacts for companies. The management of HIV & AIDS is therefore a major focus area of
IPA member companies.
Impala Platinum, a PGM mining company operating in South Africa and Zimbabwe, tackles these problems through awareness and educational programmes as well as medical care. Find out more about Impala's medical programmes here.
Sharing the Wealth with Local Suppliers
Lonmin, a major mining company in South Africa, is sharing the wealth with communities around its operations. In an award-winning partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a division of the World Bank that focuses on private sector development in emerging markets, the mining company has supported the development of 34 local entrepreneurs in South Africa's Northwest Province.
The strategic objective of the Lonmin-IFC local supplier development programme is to tap the entrepreneurial skills of the communities immediately surrounding the mine. The intent of this programme is to promote sustainability by contributing significantly to the development of the communities through enhanced knowledge, skills and entrepreneur development. Basis for success is for these suppliers to extend their services, not only to other mining organisations in the regions, but also to non-mine related customers.
Find out more about Lonmin's local development programme here