Bloomberg is reporting that Russia’s Natural Resources Minister and officials from Russian company Norilsk, which is the largest palladium miner in the world, will attend a meeting in South Africa to once again pitch a plan for the two nations to start a cartel to influence the international price for platinum group metals.
Platinum and palladium are often found together in the same mines. South Africa produces almost 70% of the world’s platinum, while Russia mines nearly 40% of the world’s palladium. Both countries have been hard hit by the drop in PGM (platinum group metals) prices, and theoretically are in a better position to control the PGM market than the OPEC nations can influence the price of crude oil.
In order to not run afoul of international anti-trust treaties, the simplest way for South Africa and Russia to control PGM prices would be for their central banks to buy platinum and palladium and designate it as precious metals reserves.
The first question is, “where would these billions of dollars to do this come from,” and the second question is “how would you keep labor unions and state-run companies from seizing control of the pricing mechanism to suit their own needs?” Plans to sell PGMs to auto manufacturers in fellow “BRICS” countries Brazil and China to help Russia and South Africa raise capital to control the market would probably not help enough to make the plans for a “PGM OPEC” a reality.