Here’s This Year’s Most Interesting Drilling Program

The mining sector is looking brighter and brighter in an unexpected place: America.

With the economy having cooled, several states in the U.S. have looked to minerals of late as a way to jump-start growth.

Just look at some recent developments. Lundin Mining is pushing forward the Eagle nickel-copper mine in Michigan, slated to open late this year. Polymet Mining is making permitting progress on a similar project in nearby Minnesota.

And this week we got news of more workings in this region. From platinum producer Stillwater Mining, who is looking to expand its operations in Montana.

Local media is reporting that Stillwater has applied for test drilling of eight sites. Located east of the company’s current mining operations. The reported aim of the program is to locate new ore bodies that could feed expanded mining operations at the site.

The results of this drilling will be very interesting, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, any discoveries could spur further development here. Providing an important test case on the ease of permitting mining operations in Montana–a formerly mining-friendly state that has lately garnered a reputation for being hard on the industry.

The results will also be important because of the target commodity here: platinum. Problems in the world’s major platinum production centres like South Africa are continuing to mount. Making this an ideal time for a new platinum discovery that might feed a market desperate for alternatives.

The Stillwater drilling program will thus be a spot to watch when it gets underway in May. Both from a stand-alone project perspective and as a gauge of just how widespread the American mining “renaissance” might become.

Here’s to new drills in old places,

Dave Forest / @piercepoints / Facebook

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