The Platinum Trust of South Africa was formed in 2003 by private and public sector entities as a result of research conducted into the potential for South Africa to increase its platinum jewellery production and sales.
At the same time, the legislative changes requiring mining houses to invest in beneficiation activities provided an added incentive and thrust to the notion of forming a platinum jewellery training, production and SMME centre in the North West Province.
The Trust is determined to address the opportunity for platinum beneficiation and to upgrade domestic skills and work opportunities in the North West by initially establishing a world class platinum jewellery training and manufacturing facility.
The SEDA Platinum Incubator was officially opened in December 2006 and started operations in January 2007.
Jewellery training is based on production type learning, as is the norm in the centres of training excellence in the jewellery industry around the world. Applicants can be taken from three levels:
- Those who have no training,
- Those who have some, and
- Those who have qualified but want to specialise in platinum work.
Learners are able to earn an income while they are training, by undertaking simple, labour intensive tasks from the local industry, and performing more complex orders as their abilities increases.
The SEDA Platinum Incubator provides, the necessary equipment to manufacture jewellery that is too costly for small manufacturing jeweller. The Incubator also offers access to facilities that assist in increasing the production capacity and quality of the SMMEs products, while reducing their capital and set-up costs.
The Incubator offers a Platinum Loan Scheme that significantly reduces the cost of operations, as platinum is the single largest cost for manufacturing jewellers. In addition, the joint location of the SMMEs and incubator reduces security costs for the entire facility.
Because the incubator can offer the right equipment combined with the right training, the quality of product that will emerge from the incubator is world class.
Around the world, with the exception only of high volume mass produced jewellery (such as chain, which is a capital intensive affair) manufacturing jewellers are SMMEs. They typically cluster together in regions or areas, which offer them the ability to reduce costs, increase security and develop synergies for manufacturing and marketing.
In summary, the SEDA Platinum Incubator is creating an internationally recognised centre of platinum beneficiation excellence and is dedicated to the advancement of skills in the beneficiation of PGMs, building an internationally competitive small and medium enterprise PGM cluster.