Profile: Stillwater Mining Co (SWC)
14 Mar 2014
Stillwater Mining Company, incorporated in 1992, is engaged in the development, extraction, processing, smelting, refining and marketing of palladium, platinum and associated metals (platinum group metals (PGMs)) from a geological formation in south-central Montana, the J-M Reef, and from the recycling of spent catalytic converters. It is also engaged in expanding its mining operations on the J-M Reef, developing its Marathon PGM/copper property adjacent to Lake Superior in the province of Ontario, Canada and advancing the exploration of its Altar copper/gold property in the province of San Juan Argentina. The J-M Reef is the primary source of platinum group metals inside the United States. Associated by-product metals at the Company’s operations include nickel and copper and minor amounts of gold, silver and rhodium. During the year ended December 31, 2012, the Company’s mining operations produced a total of 513,700 ounces of palladium and platinum. During 2012, the Company’s mining and processing operations are located in south central Montana. The Company conducts mining and milling operations at the Stillwater Mine near Nye, Montana and at the East Boulder Mine south of Big Timber, Montana. Both mines are located on mine claims that follow the apex of the J-M Reef. The Company operates a smelter and base metal refinery, and recycling facilities in Columbus, Montana.
The Company conducts mining operations at the Stillwater Mine near Nye, Montana and at the East Boulder Mine south of Big Timber, Montana. Ore extraction at both mines takes place within the J-M Reef. The Company operates concentrating plants at each mining operation to upgrade the mined production into a concentrate form. The Company operates a smelter and base metal refinery in Columbus, Montana which further upgrades the mined concentrates into a PGM-rich filter cake. . It owns parcels of rural land in Stillwater and Sweet Grass Counties, Montana, near its mines and metallurgical complex totaling approximately 4,549 acres and additional commercial properties in the communities of Columbus and Big Timber, Montana. The filter cake is shipped to third-party custom refiners for final refining before the contained PGMs are sold to third parties. At December 31, 2012, the Company had probable ore reserves at its Montana operations, of approximately 46.1 million tons with an average combined palladium and platinum grade of 0.46 ounces per ton of ore (0.36 ounces of palladium and 0.10 ounces of platinum per ton of ore). This is equivalent to approximately 21.5 million in-situ probable ounces of palladium and platinum (16.8 million ounces of palladium and 4.7 million ounces of platinum) at a ratio of about 3.58 parts palladium to one part platinum.
The Company conducts underground mining operations at its wholly-owned Stillwater Mine, near Nye, Montana. The Stillwater Mine facility accesses, extracts and processes PGM ores from the eastern portion of the J-M Reef using mine openings located in the Stillwater Valley. In addition, the Company owns and maintains ancillary buildings that contain the concentrator, shop and warehouse, changing facilities, headframe, hoist house, paste plant, water treatment, storage facilities and office. All surface structures and tailings management facilities are located within the 2,475 acre Stillwater Mine Operating Permit area which is administrated collectively by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the United States Forest Service (USFS). The Stillwater Mine accesses and has developed a 5.9-mile-long underground segment of the J-M Reef, on various levels between 2,000 and 7,500 feet above sea level. Access to the ore at the Stillwater Mine is accomplished by means of a 1,950-foot vertical shaft and by a system of horizontal adits and drifts driven parallel to the strike of the J-M Reef at vertical intervals of between 150 feet and 300 feet.
As of December 31, 2012, the Stillwater Mine uses its 31 footwall lateral drifts and 6 primary ramps and vertical excavations to provide personnel and equipment access, supply haulage and drainage, intake and exhaust ventilation systems, muck haulage, backfill plant access, powder storage and/or emergency egress. The footwall lateral and primary ramp systems continue to provide support for production and ongoing development activities. The Company processes ore from the Stillwater Mine through a surface concentrator facility (mill) adjacent to the Stillwater Mine shaft. The mill has a permitted design capacity of 3,000 tons per day. During 2012, an average of 1,838 tons of ore and 100 tons of sub-grade material were processed through the mill per calendar day. In addition, on average the mill processed 98 tons per calendar day of smelter slag.
The East Boulder Mine is located in Sweet Grass County, Montana, approximately 32 miles southeast of the town of Big Timber and is accessed by a public road. The East Boulder Mine consists of a second mining operation accessing the western portion of the J-M Reef. The mine consists of underground mine development and surface support facilities, including a concentrator, shop and warehouse, changing facilities, storage facilities, office and tailings management facility. All mine facilities are wholly owned and operated by the Company. All surface facilities, including the tailings management complex, are located within a 980 acre operating permit area.
The mined ore is transported horizontally out of the East Boulder Mine by rail haulage to the mine portal, where it is processed through the East Boulder concentrator facility. The East Boulder concentrator has a permitted throughput capacity of 2,000 tons per day. Concentrates produced in the mill are transported approximately 75 miles to the Company’s metallurgical complex in Columbus, Montana. During 2012, the East Boulder Mine produced 136,300 ounces of PGMs.
The Company owns a smelter facility and associated real estate located in Columbus, Montana. The smelter facility consists of two electric furnaces, two top blown rotary converters (TBRC’s), a matte granulator and gas handling and solution regeneration systems. Concentrates from the mine sites are transported to the smelter, dried, and fed into the electric furnace. The Company’s base metal refinery is located on property the Company owns adjacent to the smelter in Columbus, Montana. The base metal refinery utilizes the patented Sherritt Process, whereby a sulfuric acid solution dissolves the nickel, copper, cobalt and any residual iron in the converter matte. These metals are separated chemically from the PGM-bearing converter matte and the copper and nickel are marketed as by-products. A nickel crystallizer circuit produces a crystalline nickel sulfate by-product containing minor amounts of cobalt, which is marketed under sales contracts with various companies.
The base metal refinery produces a palladium, platinum and rhodium-rich filter cake, which also contains minor amounts of gold and silver. This filter cake is shipped to third-party precious metal refineries in New Jersey and California under tolling agreements that provide the Company with returns of finished metal. The palladium and platinum metals are returned to the Company’s account as 99.95% purity sponge; refined rhodium, gold and silver are also returned to the Company’s account.
The Company regularly sources spent catalytic converter materials containing PGM metals from third-party suppliers and processes them through its metallurgical complex. Such materials may either be purchased outright or may be processed and returned to the supplier for a tolling fee. The spent catalytic material is collected by the third party suppliers, primarily from automobile repair shops and automobile yards that disassemble old cars for the recycling of their parts. The Company also processes spent PGM catalysts from petroleum refineries and other sources, normally on a tolling basis. During 2012, the Company sold 336,500 recycled ounces.
Marathon Development Project
The Marathon PGM-copper project (the project) is located 10 kilometers north of the town of Marathon, Ontario. The Marathon PGM-copper project is an advanced stage development project. The PGM-copper ores at Marathon is processed (crushed, ground and concentrated) at on-site processing facilities to produce a marketable concentrate product containing copper, palladium, platinum, silver and gold. The concentrate is transported off-site to a commercial smelter and refinery for subsequent metal extraction and separation. The residual material or process solids resulting from the milling process is deposited in the Process Solids Management Facility (PSMF). The non-ore bearing mine rock produced is permanently stored in either the Mine Rock Storage Area (MRSA) located east of the main pit or used in construction of the PSMF.
Altar Copper-Gold Exploration Project
The Altar project is located in the Andes Mountains of Argentina, about 10 kilometers from the Argentina-Chile border, and approximately 180 kilometers west of the city of San Juan. Elevations within the project area range between 3,100 meters and 4,000 meters above sea level. The Altar copper-gold project is an advanced stage exploration project. The project is primarily a copper-gold porphyry deposit with potential for discrete peripheral gold system targets. Peregrine is an exploration company whose principal asset is the Altar project, which is a advanced stage Andean Porphyry copper-gold exploration property located in the San Juan Province of Argentina. The Company controls 11,945 hectares of mineral interests at Altar. The property consists of eight wholly owned mining concessions totaling 7,771 hectares, five optioned mining concessions totaling 3,705 hectares, and one staked mineral concession comprising 469 hectares.
Stillwater Mining Co
1321 Discovery Dr.
BILLINGS MT 59102