GM Won’t Reconsider Canceled Stillwater Contract

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS – Stillwater Mining Co. officials said Tuesday that recent talks with General Motors failed to convince the automaker to reconsider a canceled metals supply contract with the mine.

Stillwater chairman and CEO Frank McAllister met with GM officials in Detroit on Aug. 13, but he said the talks “did not yield any positive results for our company, its employees and other stakeholders or the communities in which we operate.”

GM canceled its precious metals contract with the Columbus-based mining company in July as part of a government-backed bankruptcy reorganization. The Montana mines, in the Beartooth Mountains, supplied the automaker with platinum and palladium, which are used in catalytic converters to control vehicle exhaust.

A Stillwater news release said the meeting focused on changes to price guarantees for the precious metals. It added that “GM officials made it clear they are not interested in reconsidering the terminated supply contract with Stillwater, although they did not exclude the possibility of a future competitive supply relationship.”

The contract cancellation brought strong backlash from Gov. Brian Schweitzer and members of the state’s congressional delegation, who criticized GM for retaining contracts with two overseas suppliers in Russia and South Africa.

“It is disappointing that General Motors once again failed to negotiate in good faith,” Schweitzer said in a statement Tuesday.

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