In an obvious hint to the imminent platinum and palladium supply woes, the JPMorgan Chase said that the metals will witness a huge rise in prices due to the concerns over implementing changes to mining rules in South Africa, which is the largest producer of the metals.
Concern about rule changes intensified in recent weeks as Kumba Iron Ore and Lonmin said the government had deprived them of mining rights. The ANC is preparing to discuss mine nationalisation at a congress next month.
The government has upheld its award of some prospecting rights at a mine of Anglo American's Kumba Iron Ore unit to a company whose biggest shareholder has been in business with the son of President Jacob Zuma.
Lonmin in May lost prospecting rights for some metals to a company led by a former government official who once sat on its board. South Africa is struggling to draw foreign capital as investment costs rise because of laws aimed at redressing the inequalities of apartheid that compel the sale of stakes in mines to black South Africans.
Gains by the South African currency also helped to increase local production costs. The rand has advanced 24 percent against the dollar since the end of 2008.
Platinum for immediate delivery advanced $4.60, or 0.3 percent, to $1,538.85 an ounce on Friday. Palladium rose $4.65, or 0.9 percent, to $494.65 an ounce, up 21 percent in 2010. Both metals have uses from automotive pollution-control gear to jewelry.
The government said recently that a six-month moratorium on processing prospecting applications would go into effect on September 1 as steps are taken to ensure that the system is clean. South Africa also plans to clarify ambiguities in mining laws to address investor concerns over awards of rights.
The country supplies about four-fifths of the world's platinum. Anglo controls the largest miner of the metal, and Lonmin is third-biggest.