Stillwater Mining announced on January 31, 2014 that Stillwater Canada Inc. has requested a governmental joint review panel to suspend until further notice its environmental assessment and panel hearings regarding Stillwater Canada’s Marathon platinum group metals (PGM) project in northwest Ontario. The joint review panel is comprised of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and is responsible for the evaluation of the Marathon project’s environmental impact statement. The panel hearings were scheduled to begin on February 20.
Stillwater Canada is owned 75% by Stillwater Mining and 25% by Mitsubishi Corp. The Marathon project is located about 10 km north of the town of Marathon, Ontario, near the north shore of Lake Superior. As of mid-2012, the project was thought to have potential to produce about 200,000 oz/y of PGMs (mostly palladium) and 37 million lb/y of copper over a mine life of about 11.5 years.
Stillwater Mining president and CEO Mick McMullen said, “We have been working closely with our partner, Mitsubishi Corp, to complete an updated Marathon project feasibility study. The study is not yet complete, but the project team has identified several areas for further evaluation of operational and processing approaches and optimization options. As a result we have concluded, due to the potential for material changes to the project, it is in the best interest of all stakeholders for the feasibility study to be completed prior to the investment of further time and resources needed to facilitate the Environmental Assessment process.
“The Marathon project fits within the company’s strategy of focusing on PGM assets in mining friendly jurisdictions. However, resuming the permitting process will depend on the results of the completed technical review and the degree of any potential scope changes.”