The Russians hold the card with a knife to South Africa's throat
The apointment of this "state defense" guy to the Norilsk board I think is very significant. Putin's is very determined to have his fingers in every pie in Russia and we know that their three top billionaires have been fighting over Norilsk for years but now seem to have settled down.
Collectively they hold the trump card now in the world's platinum/palladium game. IF they were to start dumping their hoards, they could depress prices to the point, it would take out all but the most efficent producers. The South African platinum industry already has one foot over the grave and another on a banana peal. It would not take much to knock them out. (I think it would be really, really good for PAL and SWC by the way!)
The key is this guy and how he looks at the palladium situation coming from a state background. They are infamous hoarders and I bet his first loyally is to make sure that Russia has enough critical nickel/palladium for their developing industries. Putin wants to build Russia up very badly and is moving slowly but surely to this objective.
# 1.) The military analysis community was recently stunned when a new Russian warship was named the number four best in the world. This was on the Military Channel recently.
# 2.) A couple of years ago, NORAD was shocked that Russians strategic (nuclear) bombers were on the outskirts of New York cIty. Putin has at least one elite strategic bomber wing up and running and probably three by now. Russian fighters routinely intrude on Alaskan air space and Canadien fighters have to be dispathed from western Canada to shoo them away. The Alaskan Air National Guard, USAF does not seem overly concerned.
# 3.) Russian nuclear submarines. They were rusting in port being used to power nearby cities electric grids and having accidents. Putin now has some deployed and they going back to their old habits of playing "cat-and-mouse" with the Americans. They love seeing how close they can get to Norfolk, VA.
The bottim line: never, ever count the Russians down and out as Napolean and Hitler found out the hard way!
All this is good information. Unfortunately for PAL holders, the management of PAL doesn't seem able to get Pd out of the ground very efficiently. Until it can, all of this information remains academic to PAL's fortunes.
I remember PGM's having certain military applications but not sure how relevant nowadays so FWIW.
"Palladium became popular to use in jewelry in 1939, when platinum was reserved for military use. In the "Iron Man" movies, Tony Stark uses palladium to power a robotic suit with obvious military applications. However, in reality, the military uses palladium in many of the same ways that civilians do."
This may be more current:
"Tanks made from palladium alloys may replace the tanks of the past."
"Current research with iron-palladium alloys have produced an elastic metal with "memory." Combined with nano-technology, the military is working on a shape-shifting, self-healing "living metal." This substance has an infinite number of applications, including self-healing tank armor, morphing aircraft and exo-skeletons for soldiers"
"Palladium is part of virtually all electronics, as its chemical properties make it a good alternative to the gold often used in plating of electrical components. Even complex military computers contain palladium."
Another application I can think of that might be relevant might be fuel cells.
--if a breakthrough, control of Pd supply might become strategic for industrial competitiveness reasons.
Not sure how much Pd might be used in a fuel cell.
Palladium has many unique properties going for it. I don't doubt that in the future we will see some amazing applications. However, in this time, and for the foreseaable future two thirds of it will still only be used in vehicles for pollution control.