Platinum facts

The platinum group metals (PGM) are 6 metallic elements that have similar physical and chemical properties and that tend to occur together in the same mineral deposits. They include:

  • platinum
  • palladium
  • rhodium
  • ruthenium
  • osmium
  • iridium

Key facts

  • In 2016, Canada was the third largest producer of mined platinum group metals.
  • The United States accounted for 90% of Canada’s exports of platinum group metals in 2016.
  • Recycling of materials made with platinum group metals accounts for more than 26% of the global supply.

Learn more about platinum

Uses

There are many different uses for PGM in everyday items. The manufacture of catalytic converters (used in exhaust systems in vehicles) represents the largest use of PGM. They are also important components of jewellery, chemicals, glass, medical equipment and dental applications.

Financial investors interested in acquiring precious metals as part of their portfolios often turn to PGM as an option for investing.

Platinum group metals, global uses, 2016

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This pie chart shows the major industrial uses of platinum group metals as of 2016. The largest use was for autocatalysts (59%), followed by jewellery (14%), electrical (9%), chemicals (8%), medical (3%), petroleum (1%), glass (1%), investment (less than 1%) and other uses (4%).

Production

In 2016, Canada mined an estimated 1 million troy ounces of PGM in concentrate. While Canada does not refine PGM domestically, they are recovered from 9 operating mines located in 4 Canadian provinces:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Quebec
  • Ontario
  • Manitoba

Canadian mine production of platinum group metals, 2007–2016 (p)

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This bar chart shows Canada’s annual mine production of platinum group metals from 2007 to 2016. Production was estimated at 704,000 troy ounces in 2007 and 1,043,000 troy ounces in 2016.

Canadian mine production of platinum group metals, by element, 2016 (p)

Text version

This pie chart shows Canada’s mine production of platinum group metals by element in percentages in 2016. Canada’s mine production by element was estimated as palladium, 70%; platinum, 27%; rhodium, 2%; ruthenium, 1%; and iridium, less than 1%.

International context

An estimated 18 million troy ounces of PGM were supplied from mined and recycled sources in 2016.

Find out more about mined PGM production on an international scale:

World mine production of platinum group metals, by country, 2016 (p)

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This bar chart shows the world’s estimated production in millions of troy ounces of platinum, palladium and rhodium, by country, in 2016. The leading producer was South Africa (platinum, 4.4; palladium, 2.6; rhodium, 0.6), followed by Russia (platinum, 0.7; palladium, 2.5; rhodium, 0.08), Canada (platinum, 0.3; palladium, 0.7; rhodium, 0.02), Zimbabwe (platinum, 0.5; palladium,0.4; rhodium, 0.04) and other countries (platinum, 0.2; palladium, 0.3; rhodium, 0.01).

World production of platinum group metals, 2007–2016 (p)

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This bar graph shows the world’s annual production of platinum group metals from 2007 to 2016. Production was 17.3 million troy ounces in 2007 and 18.0 million troy ounces in 2016.

In 2016, estimates of the total world reserves were 67,000 tonnes.

World reserves of platinum group metals, by country, 2016 (p)
Ranking Country Tonnes Percentage of total
1 South Africa 63,000 94.0%
2 Zimbabwe 1,200 1.8%
3 Russia 1,100 1.6%
4 United States 900 1.3%
5 Canada 310 0.5%
- Other countries 490 0.7%
- Total 67,000 100.0%

Trade

Canada traded in PGM and PGM-related products with more than 70 countries in 2016.

Exports

Total exports of PGM and PGM products from Canada were valued at $1.3 billion in 2016, with products destined for the United States accounting for 90% of total exports.

Imports

Imports were valued at $381 million in 2016, coming from a variety of countries. More than 90% originated from Switzerland (23%), the United States (21%), the United Kingdom (20%), Russia (14%) and South Africa (13%).

Prices

Platinum prices varied throughout 2016, starting from a low of US$817 per troy ounce in January and reaching a high of US$1,177 per troy ounce in August, before falling back to US$907 per troy ounce in December.

Platinum, morning prices, monthly average, 2007–2016

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This line chart shows the monthly average price in U.S. dollars per troy ounce of platinum from 2007 to 2016. The average annual price of platinum was $1,305 per troy ounce in 2007. In 2016, the average annual price was $987 per troy ounce of platinum and the monthly prices were: January, $854; February, $919; March, $968; April, $993; May, $1,036; June, $984; July, $1,086; August, $1,127; September, $1,049; October, $960; November, $955; and December, $917.

Palladium prices varied in 2016, starting from a low of US$465 per troy ounce in January and rising to a high of US$774 per troy ounce during December, before finishing the year at US$676 per troy ounce.

Palladium, morning prices, monthly average, 2007–2016

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This line chart shows the monthly average price in U.S. dollars per troy ounce of palladium from 2007 to 2016. The average annual price of palladium was $355 per troy ounce in 2007. In 2016, the average annual price of palladium was $611 and the monthly prices were: January, $498; February, $505; March, $564; April, $573; May, $578; June, $551; July, $642; August, $700; September, $682; October, $651; November, $693; and December, $700.

Recycling

Mining accounts for close to 74% of the global PGM supply, while slightly more than 26% comes from the recycling of products, such as auto catalytic converters, old jewellery and electrical scrap.

World supply of platinum group metals, by source, 2016 (p)

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This pie chart shows world supply of platinum group metals by source in 2016. The largest source was mine production (74%), followed by recycling sources, including autocatalyst scrap (19%), old jewellery scrap (4%) and electrical scrap (3%).

Notes and sources

(p) preliminary

Totals may be different because of rounding.

All dollars are Canadian unless otherwise indicated.

Uses

  • Platinum group metals, global uses, 2016
    • Johnson Matthey

Production

  • Canadian mine production of platinum group metals, 2007–2016 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada
  • Canadian mine production of platinum group metals, by element, 2016 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada
    • Canada’s mine statistics include ruthenium and iridium, but not osmium.

International context

  • World mine production of platinum group metals, by country, 2016 (p)
    • Johnson Matthey; Natural Resources Canada
  • World production of platinum group metals, 2007–2016 (p)
    • Johnson Matthey
  • World reserves of platinum group metals, by country, 2016 (p)
    • U.S. Geological Survey

Prices

  • Platinum, morning prices, monthly average, 2007–2016
    • London Metal Exchange
  • Palladium, morning prices, monthly average, 2007–2016
    • London Metal Exchange

Recycling

  • World supply of platinum group metals, by source, 2016 (p)
    • Johnson Matthey