Johnson Matthey, a UK speciality chemicals and technology company, and Sibanye-Stillwater, a South African HQ precious metals mining company, have partnered to support decarbonisation and use the platinum group metals (pgms) and battery metals more efficiently, H2Bulletin reports.
Both companies have extended their current pgms supply and refining agreements to ensure long term stability in the supply. The partnership will work on promoting low carbon technologies to support sustainability.
They will also work on the circular economy, cooperate on recycling, and find solutions for the efficient recovery of pgms. Johnson Matthey is the world’s largest fabricator and recycler of pgms, while Sibanye-Stillwater is a significant recycler of used catalytic converter materials containing platinum, palladium and rhodium.
Demand for pgms is expected to increase in the coming years owing to the use in growing electrolyser and fuel cells markets. However, precious metals will also face some headwinds going forward due to their high costs. Several research works are being carried out to replace platinum and iridium with inexpensive materials.
Iridium has also been blamed for limiting the adoption of the PEM (proton exchange membrane) electrolysers. However, Heraeus claims that it cuts iridium requirements by up to 90%, supporting PEM adoption.
Iridium prices have been marching upward and reached a new all-time high of US$ 6,000/oz on the back of supply tightness from South Africa as well as strong demand in the electrical and electrochemical sector.