United States – US company Stillwater Mining Co. has revealed plans to develop new palladium and platinum mines both domestically and in Canada but won’t go ahead just yet in light of soaring prices for the precious metals, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
Based in the US state of Montana, Stillwater aims to increase processing of recycled palladium and platinum by deploying unused capacity before taking its expansion plans to the next level, thus enabling it to cash in on higher prices. The mining company says it will boost its current annual recycled output of 600 000 ounces ′immediately′, citing unused recycling capacity equivalent to twice this volume.
Between January and April alone, Stillwater successfully increased recycling volumes by 46%. Since sinking to a 2014 low of less than US$ 700 an ounce in early February, palladium has made a strong comeback and recently hit a three-year high of US$ 852.25. Prices for platinum have also rocketed.
′The demand for both palladium and platinum is very strong,′ comments Stillwater′s president and ceo Mick McMullen. ′People are looking to secure long-term supplies.′ Given the uncertainty over whether South Africa′s longest-ever mining strike will end soon, McMullen adds: ′We don’t want to fall into the trap of suddenly trying to increase our mined production.′
Instead, the company intends to focus on recycling, reducing costs and maximising returns to shareholders. Over 75% of Stillwater′s mine output is palladium and around 20% is platinum.