BILLINGS - A Russian mining company announced Monday that it was selling its majority ownership stake in Montana's Stillwater Mining Company.
MMC Norilsk Nickel said it wanted to focus on its "core operations" in the global mining and metals industry. The company said its initial investment in Stillwater, in 2003, had "generated value" for the parent company's shareholders.
In exchange for a 51 percent stake in Stillwater, Norilsk paid $100 million and 877,000 ounces of palladium, worth a combined $257 million at the time.
"The sales of our holdings in Stillwater Mining Company represent an important milestone in the fulfillment of our strategic objectives," said Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, Norilsk Nickel's general director.
Stillwater's two mines in the Beartooth Mountains southwest of Billings produced 529,900 ounces of palladium and platinum last year - the only raw source of the metals in the country.
Company spokesman Dan Gagnier said the news will not effect Stillwater's plans to expand its Montana mines and develop another in Ontario.
"It's business as usual at Stillwater," Gagnier said.
Stillwater shares fell 96 cents, or about 5 percent, to $19.05 on Monday.