Platinum and Rhodium: Two Metals On Fire

Includes: PAL, SWC
by: Neville Maycock
Platinum has now pushed over $2000 an ounce.  Rhodium has pushed thru $8500 an ounce.  To say these metals have been on fire would be an understatement.  The increase in these two metals has been because of power and labor issues in South Africa.  The biggest beneficiaries of the issues in South Africa have been the producers in North America and Russia.  While North America and Russia deposits "usually" has more palladium than platinum and rhodium in its deposits (note: palladium has also done well) they are still benefiting greatly from this price boom.

Companies such as North American Palladium (PAL) and Stillwater Mining (SWC) have seen resurgence in their stock price over the past couple of months.  While those two companies have had a great run recently, I always like to look at companies who have operations adjacent to these companies and see if the surronding companies also have decent prospects but have not participated in the run-up.  I'll introduce two explorers that surround Stillwater Mining that might be of interest in your portfolio.

Beartooth Platinum (BTP.V) has a land position (5976 hectares ) surrounding Stillwater Mining Company's two operating mines in Montana.  Beartooth also has a joint venture with Premium Exploration Inc. (PEM.V) on additional Stillwater claims.  These properties have reported decent platinum, palladium, and rhodium grades (2006 drill results- Release 1 , Release 2 with Rhodium Results).     On October 17, 2007, Beartooth Platinum announced their completion of their 2007 drill program in Montana.  Assay results from the 2007 drill program should be out in the very near future.  If the grades are similar to that of the 2006 drill program, Beartooth Platinum and Premium Exploration's stock price should appreciate.  Also with good drill results, Stillwater Mining might look into owning a piece in both of those companies.

Beartooth Platinum and Premium Exploration aren't one property companies either.  Beartooth is currently exploring a PGM project in South Africa and Premium Exploration has some decent looking gold and silver projects in Mexico and the United States..

PGM metals are hot right now, and even though prices might come off from these high levels once the South Africa situation is ironed out, companies that can find high-grade PGM projects outside of South Africa will be in high demand.

Disclosure: I have a position in Beartooth Platinum Stock.