6. Stillwater Mining
YTD Returns: 119%
Stillwater Mining (SWC) is engaged in the development, extraction, processing, refining and marketing of palladium, platinum and associated metals from a geological formation in south central Montana and from the recycling of spent catalytic converters. It is the only producer of palladium and platinum in the U.S.According to a recent investor presentation, Stillwater has proven resources of 20.6 million ounces of platinum and palladium. The company produced 364,000 ounces of platinum and palladium in the first nine months of 2010. Stillwater sells 70% of mined platinum and 80% of mined palladium under a long-term supply agreement with Ford (F) due to expire in 2010. But the company says a highly liquid platinum and palladium market exists outside of contracted arrangements and that it is not imperative that the Ford agreement be replaced. Norimet, its majority shareholder sold its entire holding in the company recently. Norimet, a subsidiary of Russian mining giant MMC Norilsk Nickel, decided earlier this year to exit its holding as it did not have operational control and wanted to focus on its core operations.
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