The Role of PGMs
Platinum group metals (PGMs) are rare precious metals with unique physical properties that are used in diverse industrial applications and in jewelry. Platinum, palladium and rhodium are the most prominent PGMs. By far the most common current application for PGMs is in the automotive industry for the production of catalysts that reduce harmful automobile emissions.
In addition to catalytic converters, PGM applications include jewelry, electronic components, dental products, petroleum and industrial catalysts, the manufacture of data storage disks, fiberglass, paints, anti-cancer drugs, fiber optic cables, fertilizers, unleaded and high-octane gasoline and fuel cells.
Our Principal Product: Palladium
The primary product produced at Stillwater Mining Company’s mines is palladium, which represents more than 75 percent of mined production. Stillwater is the only significant primary palladium producer in the world. Other major mining companies typically produce palladium as a by-product from mining other metals.
The market dynamics impacting palladium are distinct from other precious metals. These important market factors include:
- The global mined palladium supply is concentrated and constrained.
- As urbanization increases and the middle class expands in the developing world, global automobile production is expected to increase significantly.
- Although recycling of catalyst material is increasing, it will be insufficient to offset anticipated demand going forward.
- The use of palladium in diesel catalytic converters is growing.
- The large Russian government palladium inventory is believed to be at or near depletion. This inventory has provided a significant percentage of total palladium supply since 1990.