Russia Plays “Palladium Politics” with the West

Posted on April 16, 2014 by Minerals Make Life

As reported by Quartz yesterday, Russia’s control over global palladium supply is causing increased concern over access to this crucial mineral, pushing its price to a 32-month high.

How important is palladium? The versatile mineral is a key component of products ranging from catalytic converters in cars to capacitors in electronics to dental crowns and jewelry.

Yet another example of how America’s outdated and slow minerals permitting process is putting both industry and everyday Americans at risk of supply disruptions and price spikes. Per Quartz:

“As the West threatens tougher sanctions against Russia for its perceived provocations in eastern Ukraine, Russia may try to do equal damage with trade restrictions of its own. Limiting palladium exports may be a useful weapon.” After palladium experienced a 3-year high yesterday, “palladium politics” are becoming a reality, and “Russia’s control of an obscure but important precious metal gives it a means to retaliate.”

While worldwide demand for minerals has significantly increased, minerals production in the United States has remained relatively flat for more than 20 years. Stagnant production, coupled with dependence on a growing list of minerals, increases our risk of supply disruptions and other vulnerabilities.

To help insulate against global supply threats, America needs more companies like Stillwater Mining Company, a Montana-based mine that is currently America’s only palladium and platinum producer. We need our leaders to create policies that enable the United States to be more self-reliant and less dependent on foreign minerals.

Continue reading about “palladium politics” here.

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