WiPGM Newsletter - April 2021

26 April 2021 \ Sarah Masterson

Dear Members

As we enter into Spring 2021 and see positive steps to getting the Coronavirus pandemic under control, it is a good opportunity for us to reflect on what was a truly ‘unforgettable year’. Never would we have predicted COVID-19 and 2020 being one of the most challenging times from both a personal and professional perspective. However, we should all be very proud of how we have grown.

2020 has taught us to build empathy, resilience and gratitude as our lives adapted and alongside this ensure we maintained our mental, physical and emotional well-being. All of which, at times, seemed near on impossible while living through a pandemic.  Congratulations members, we made it through to 2021 and brighter days ahead!

As we adapt to this ‘new world’, WiPGMs wants to ensure that we continue to stay engaged and connected throughout the year.  To find out more about this please read on for our April Newsletter.


February Virtual Networking Event

We successfully held our second virtual event on 18 February. With 51 attendees, two keynote speakers and two panelists the session focused on the “Increasing importance of ESG in PGM mining across the value chain”, together with initiatives being implemented across the Industry. The speakers and panelists discussed and recognised the importance of the stakeholder, value of engagement, benchmarking and accountability.  WiPGMs would like to thank Thabisile Phumo, Ruth Crowell, Erin Satterthwaite and Michelle Taylor for their contributions to the informative session and giving up their time to talk to us. We are very excited about the broad geographical net we are able to cast in our industry. We had participants from Japan, China, Russia, the EU all the way down to South Africa and across the Atlantic to the US. We would also like to thank all of our attendees for their participation, full engagement and making it a lively and interactive session.  As with our previous event, we are pleased with the success of these interactive virtual session and sincerely hope that these can be face-to-face in the not too distance future.

For the full video of the event, please refer to https://youtu.be/j3Ps07MAsLg 


Update on Members Platform

We hope you have been enjoying our WiPGMs website and are now following us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for regular industry updates and member spot lights. Construction of our Member Platform is fully underway and should be available by the end April. The aim of the portal is for you to upload your profile, indicate whether you looking for mentor or speaker opportunities (or both) which WiPGMs can help facilitate. It will also help keep track of all of our member and help to build our network and brand.

Be on the lookout for further communications in this space and a formal announcement once live. 


Our Events

20 May 2021 WIPGMs Virtual Platinum Week Round up - Save the Date

Due to the ongoing pandemic and current restrictions in place for social gatherings we are unable to host our ‘in person’ networking event during May Platinum week as originally planned.  However, given the success of our virtual sessions and to ensure we stay fully connected we will be hosting an event on Thursday 20 May 2021 \ 12.00 BST.

More details on our panelists to follow shortly but please make sure to save the date in your diaries. Registration opens 20 April 2021. 


News from our Members

In addition to using our newsletter as a way of helping members expand their network, we also wanted to use this medium to share information across the PGM Industry. With this in mind, please read on for two industry insights across the Refining and Jewelry sectors. Please be sure to check out our website where we will feature both Jenny and Nelsa in a detailed ‘Spotlight Review’.

Jenny Luker – President @ Platinum Guild International USA Jewelry inc. New York

2020 was a year that saw epic declines in the US Jewelry Industry during Q2 as the COVID 19 pandemic shut down all but essential businesses in the US.While this was likely the most unusual business climate in our recent history, the recovery period has been quite remarkable as well.

When the coronavirus pandemic exploded in the US in March, jewelers and non-essential retailers wondered if they’d ever recover. By June those worries began to abate for jewelers, who started reaping the benefits of unspent travel and entertainment dollars, as well as people’s shifting priorities and willingness to seal meaningful relationships with a meaningful token. As summer progressed into fall, the dust of the initial economic plunge began to settle and a clearer picture emerged.

The results of a popular industry survey of fine jewelers, (The Centurion Holiday Sales Success Index) revealed the following: 

  • In 2019, a record-smashing 80% of jewelers reported their total holiday sales rose year-on-year.
  • In 2020, more than three-fourths (76%) reported total season increases over 2019; negligibly fewer than last year.
  • It’s on par with 2013, another blockbuster year when 77% of respondents to the Sales Success Index survey that year said their holiday season sales were up over the prior year.
  • But what sets 2020 apart isn’t the total number of jewelers who grew their holiday sales—it’s the number of jewelers that grew holiday sales by a substantial amount, at least 10% higher than the year before. The Centurion Newsletter

The outlook for Platinum jewelry sales in Q1 2021 remain strong and with the continued favorable delta between platinum and gold, interest in platinum jewelry continues to build. 

For 2021, PGI USA will introduce new initiatives that are focused on, 1) Increasing platinum jewelry business across multiple categories and distribution channels 2) Inspiring innovative new design, and 3) Educating a new generation of platinumsmiths in the USA.

Nelsa Martins – Technical Consultant @ Solutions 4U, South Africa

2020 was challenging for most people, financially, socially and mostly emotionally. With the already crippled South African economy and the real threat of power outages, restricted power availability and YOY power increases up to 15% for the next five years, concentrating, smelting and refining processing capabilities will be severely impacted.

Solutions 4U however, was privileged enough to be part of an improved economy by developing a hydro-process for an organisation that upgrades low grade Precious Group Metal containing residues into high grade concentrates that can then be sold and refined into saleable products. Due to the COVI19 restrictions and extensive lockdown protocol, the trials for this new process were conducted via Microsoft Teams and Zoom meetings between remote staff and on site personal in both the laboratory and pilot plant space. Whoever would have thought processes could be developed and tested remotely. The initiative is advancing and plant scale trials are already fully underway.


Final Thoughts

As always, we would love to hear from our member base on how we can address your requirements and make this platform more useful and engaging for women in our industry. Please let us have your comments/ suggestions/ ideas – emails us at info@wipgms.com 

We look forward to seeing you all at the May event, please don’t forget to register!

Sarah Masterson

Sarah Masterson

Sarah Masterson is the Global Foreign Exchange & Commodities Americas COO for HSBC. 

Given her vast experience within Precious Metals over the last 10+ years, Sarah is a representative for a number of industry committees and advisory working groups, including recent blockchain technology initiatives. She is a member of the LBMA Regulatory Office Committee, as well as being an OECD Conflict Minerals Bullion Bank representative. Sarah describes herself as a hard-working, driven individual but still very much enjoys her leisure time, she is an avid runner and has completed several marathons and more recently has taken up triathlons.

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