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Platinum Metals Rev., 1992, 36, (3), 164

Fifth Autocatalyst Plant Commissioned

Johnson Matthey Opens New Facility at Germiston

  • R.A. Simpson
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On the 26th March, 1992 Johnson Matthey’s latest Autocatalyst Plant was officially opened by the British Ambassador to South Africa, Sir Anthony Reeve, K.C.M.G., bringing to five the number of autocatalyst plants now operated by Johnson Matthey worldwide. The facility is situated in Germiston South, some 20 km from Johannesburg and a mere 7 km from Wadeville where Johnson Matthey first began operations in South Africa almost 40 years ago.

The establishment of this plant creates a further chapter in Johnson Matthey’s participation in South African industry and brings to the country the high technology associated with the manufacture of platinum metals-containing autocatalysts, so adding value to locally produced materials. The plant has a capacity of one million autocatalysts per shift per year, and at the present time the total output is destined for export under the South African Government’s “Phase VI” of the motor industry’s local content programme, under the terms of which the industry is encouraged to export motor components, catalytic converters falling within this category.

At present there are no stringent local requirements covering motor vehicle emissions, which must await the availability of unleaded fuel in 1995, when a domestic market for autocatalysts will develop.

Johnson Matthey’s new facility consists of 10,000 square metres of covered area, a third of which is occupied by the autocatalyst plant. It also houses the Chemical Salts Production Unit, which primarily supplies the requirements of the autocatalyst facility, and Johnson Matthey’s Noble Metals business. This produces and refines rhodium-platinum catalyst gauze for the nitric acid industry, Johnson Matthey thereby playing a strategic role in the mining and agricultural industries of South Africa. The local requirements for platinum apparatus are also satisfied by this unit.

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