How Much Platinum is in the World?

August 31, 2019

London (Aug 31)  There has been a long-running claim that the total amount of physical platinum the world has ever mined would fit in an average living room or garage.

We’ll test this claim here, but also.

Here we examine various long-range platinum mining data sources to best estimate how much non-exhausted platinum indeed remains in the world.

Other than merely knowing the rough amount of platinum ever mined, most of which has got put to commercial use. For bullion buying readers, we will try here to estimate how much .999 fine platinum is available above ground today.

Using CPM Group’s 1977 to 2017 platinum mine supply data. We find just under 190 million oz of platinum or nearly 6,000 tonnes of platinum have gotten supposedly pulled from the Earth’s crust over this 4-decade timespan.

This claim gets corroborated by the US Geological Survey whereby a slight majority of all the platinum group metal mining supplies from 1900 to 2011 where palladium, with a small minority of platinum (i.e., theirs is a 14,200 metric tonne claim through 2011, again about 40% of that being platinum).

Data crunchers and precious metals infographic makers, Visual Capitalist, published in 2013 that a total of 9,400 tonnes of platinum had been mined up to that date. Since then we will round number this figure to 10,000 metric tonnes or just over 321 million ounces for those keeping track.

Oh, and by the way, they even gave us a visual of the aforementioned all-time platinum mined cube claim which back in 2013 was about 7.2 meters long, comprehensive, and tall. Today that would be about 7.7 meters on all sides.

How Much Platinum is in the World SD Bullion

Ok, so an average 2-car garage in the USA with perhaps a high almost second level with extra storage space might top out at 7 meters, by 7 meters. This suburbia example is stretching it, of course, most average US garages aren’t this large.

But having said all this.

Surely, all the platinum supply fitting into a garage or living room claims must apply to current above-ground .999 fine platinum bullion supplies?

Remember only a small portion of all time mined platinum has gotten used in fabrication demand to date.

We’ll test that theory too by the end of this post.

For now, let us dig further into the hard data details on platinum supplies over time.

Be forewarned henceforth dear reader.

This, "How much platinum is in the world content?" will be chart and data point presentation heavy. In doing so, we’ll be able to better ascertain a conservative estimate for total physical platinum supplies in the world today — a complete world platinum estimate ground in facts.

Defining: How Much Platinum is there in the World?

Most platinum ever mined is currently in use in some form or fashion.

Much of annual platinum supplies come from recycled autocatalytic converters, old jewelry, coins, and platinum scrap supplies too.

About 17% of all annual platinum demand get met with recycled secondary platinum supplies coming back into the market.

The rest of annual platinum supplies mostly comes from new platinum dug out of mines. Most of which comes from South Africa (about 70% of new line platinum mine supply) and then The Russian Federation (see the green chunks in the chart below).

Other nation platinum mine production in the blue line is the total platinum mine ore coming from all other nations combined (not much in totality).


In the following platinum supply vs. demand chart, you can likely see how the annual platinum supply has kept a steady pace with ongoing platinum demand fabrications. Again, we reiterate most platinum that has ever gotten mined has got put to some use or application.

This factor likely means there is much less .999 fine platinum supply available today than has ever been mined and put to use throughout history.

Platinum Supply Demand Balance Chart SD Bullion

Next, we divide up platinum’s demand segments in the magnitude of their size.

We start first and foremost with its highest demand uses within various industries: pollution control in automobiles, jewelry, investments, petrochemicals, electronics, dental, and other uses.

Platinum Demand Chart Annual SD Bullion

So how Much Platinum is in the World?

Two sources we will highlight here offer estimates of mixed-use platinum supplies above ground.

These estimations most likely combine the highest demand sectors of platinum applications (e.g., anti-auto pollution catalytic converters) and platinum jewelry into the fray.

The following chart got published by a South African platinum supply analyst, Dr. David Davis. By late 2015, he clocked physical platinum supplies at 26.9 million ounces using physical Pt mining import-export data over the long term.


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