Flooding forces Sibanye-Stillwater to halt Montana mines 

East Boulder currently produces about 240,000 ounces of platinum and palladium in concentrate a year. (Image courtesy of Sibanye-Stillwater.)

Precious metals miner Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE: SSW) (NYSE: SBSW) halted production at its two platinum group metals (PGMs) operations in Montana on Monday night after heavy flooding damaged an access road.

The company said that sustained warm weather in the past days led to rapid snow melt in mountains, which, together with heavy rainfall over the weekend, caused flooding of numerous rivers in the region where its mines are located.

The torrential rain has also triggered mudslides, which have damaged road and bridges. “This is likely to restrict access to the Stillwater mine for some period that will be better known in the next few days,” spokesman James Wellsted said in a statement.

Wellsted added that the East Boulder mine was less affected and access to it currently remains intact.

The impact of the floods on production is yet to be determined, the company said, noting that no injuries have been reported after the incident.

Sibanye-Stillwater’s Montana mines produced a combined 570,400 ounces of PGMs last year. These operations account for around 20% of the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, according to BMO analysts’ estimates.

The record flooding and rockslides forced Yellowstone National Park, which spans parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, to shut for the first time in 34 years.

It is uncertain how many visitors are stranded or have been forced to leave the park and how many people who live outside it have been rescued and evacuated.