Friedland wants South Africa to be the ‘Silicon Valley’ for platinum

Canadian mining mogul Robert Friedland has a new vision: to make of South Africa’s platinum-rich Limpopo province what California has been for high-tech innovation and development. In other words, he wants to create a “Platinum Valley.”

Speaking to members of the Canada-Southern Africa Chamber of Business last week, the serial mega-mine developer said the increasing world’s population, most of them likely to live in medium to big cities, will demand technologies that help them keep their water and air clean.

Because of this, as Miningweekly reports, he believes hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars are about to change the global platinum landscape forever.

Friedland, chairman and founder of Ivanhoe Capital Corporation and executive chairman and founder of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN), said that next month Japan-based automaker Toyota will unveil the world's first commercially available hydrogen fuel cell-powered automobile, which creates no emissions, but “uses copious amounts of platinum,” he was quoted as saying by Northern Life.

“The Chinese, meanwhile, are spending $100 billion a year building high-speed trains and recently unveiled the fastest train the world. Operating by magnetic levitation, it travels 581 km/hr,” he added.

And Friedland believes these upcoming events will be game changers for South Africa.

Limpopo's rich mineral deposits include the platinum group metals, iron ore, coking coal, diamonds, and copper. It also holds important mineral reserves of gold, emeralds, magnetite, silicon, and mica, among others. Mining contributes to over a fifth of the provincial economy.

Image: Aerial view of Limpopo. By the U.S. federal government, via Wikimedia Commons.