Winneshiek County supervisors next Monday will host a public presentation about the possibility of platinum mining in the Decorah area.
At this point, there are only two operating platinum mines in the United States--both in Montana. The "Stillwater Mine" is located near Nye, Montana. The "East Boulder Mine" is located in Sweet Grass County, Montana some 32 miles southeast of the town of Big Timber. The Stillwater Mine began underground mining in 1986. The East Boulder underground mine, some 15 miles west of Stillwater, began commercial production in 2002. The mines are owned and operated by the Stillwater Mining Company.
The Stillwater Mining Company is one of the world's leading producers of platinum group metals and the only significant primary producer of palladium in the Western Hemisphere. Stillwater also has two mine development projects--"Graham Creek" at the East Boulder Mine and "Blitz" at the Stillwater Mine. The projects are to be developed in the years to come and have the potential to add up to 15.5 million tons of ore to the mines mineral reserves.
The mines produced a total combined 518,000 ounces of platinum equivalent ounces in 2011 at a total cash cost of $1,000 per ounce--or a total output worth $518 million.
The Stillwater Mine is located in the Beartooth Mountains--a prime recreational area, close to Yellowstone National Park. The area has excellent skiing, fly fishing, hiking and horseback riding facilities.