Newsletter: LPPM Platinum and Palladium Sponge Accreditation

Due to requests from Good Delivery (GD) refiners the LPPM intends to create Platinum and Palladium Sponge Accreditation lists to run alongside the current GD bar lists. All refiners currently on the GD bar lists will be entitled to be added to the Sponge Accreditation lists if they so wish.

Refiners not currently on the GD bar list can apply for sponge accreditation. The process for sponge accreditation is similar to the full GD bar application process. This will require successful completion prior to the applicant being added to the sponge accreditation list.

The LPPM has been working on a set of standards for the accreditation of Platinum and Palladium sponges – such accreditation having been requested by multiple major GD Platinum and Palladium primary producers and secondary refiners and deemed very beneficial for the market by the Management Committee.

The objective is to facilitate and streamline the trade in these sponges and increase the confidence of all market participants when dealing with these materials. For practical and security reasons, it will not be possible to have sponges accepted for Good Delivery by clearing banks and vaults.

To maintain their inclusion on the LPPM Sponge Accreditation lists, GD refiners must pass a process very similar to the current GD Proactive Monitoring (PAM) and repeat that every three years. They will be required to provide sponge samples that will be analysed against the LPPM standards, full details will be provided.

To simplify the process for certification the sponge samples will be required at the same time the GD refiner is due to undergo the PAM process, although any GD refiner can choose to send samples sooner should it so wish.

A lot of work has been done by the LPPM referees during 2019 and 2020, including two major round robin analysis exercise of sponge samples and method comparison. This has resulted in a set of standards summarised below.

Summary of Technical Accreditation Standards in the Sponge PAM Rules

  • Sampling – Because of the nature of the material, the refiner shall have a procedure in place guaranteeing the production and the sampling of a homogeneous sponge.
  • Purity – Minimum 999.5 parts per thousand; the existing PAM core list of impurities is recommended, but the refiner is responsible (as for ingot) to detect and quantify all impurities.
  • Oxygen – Oxygen shall be determined in addition to core impurities, using the GD refiners’ normal method (Gas analysis, Loss on Reduction); the maximum content permitted of oxygen shall be of 0.5 parts per thousand (but this value is not taken into consideration for the purity determination)

For refiners currently on the LPPM GD bar list Sponge Accreditation is not metal dependant i.e., a refiner only on the Platinum GD bar will be added to both the Platinum and palladium sponge accreditation lists.

To meet the standards for Sponge Accreditation, the GD refiners are asked to produce a homogeneous sponge of each metal to be accredited, and follow those steps:

  • Take 4 samples of 20 g each from that sponge; 2 samples are to be sent to the LPPM, the 3rd one is to be kept as reserve sample by the refiner, and the 4th one is to be used for analysis by the refiner.
  • Send the results obtained for the sponge (including purity, concentration of each impurity and oxygen content) to the LPPM, using the recommended template.

Full details of the LPPM sponge accreditation rules and process will be sent to all GD refiners in February 2021.

If the sponge meets the technical standards above and the analyses submitted are in line with the material, the refiner will continue being LPPM accredited for that specific metal.

Sponge Accredited GD refiners will be listed on the LPPM website and they will receive a certificate and be able to use the LPPM Accredited Sponge logo on their packaging and paperwork.

All the current rules and standards for LPPM Good Delivery ingots remain unchanged.

John Metcalf – Chairman LPPM
1st March 2021

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