Platinum Group Metals/Elements (PGEs)

Platinum Group Elements, or PGEs, are a group of six metallic elements with similar chemical and physical properties that are often found together: platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), iridium (Ir), osmium (Os), rhodium (Rh), and ruthenium (Ru). PGEs have a wide array of uses in various industries, including in the automotive, petrochemical, electronics, and medical fields. These elements are resistant to corrosion, have high melting points, and act as catalysts in chemical reactions, so they are favored for use in catalytic converters, for various chemical manufacturing processes, in computer hard drives, and in medical implants. PGEs are very rare and even deposits with high grades of PGEs contain relatively low concentrations in comparison to other precious metals. Most PGE-bearing deposits occur in mafic to ultramafic magmatic bodies, such as in layered mafic intrusions or in large mafic dike swarms (Zientek and Loferski, 2014).

In Wyoming, the New Rambler Mine in the Medicine Bow Mountains produced two of these element: 170–910 ounces of platinum and 451–16,870 ounces of palladium, prior to 1918. Exploration for PGEs in the Medicine Bow Mountains has continued sporadically since the 1980s. Potential exists for PGEs in copper mineralization associated with mafic complexes in the Medicine Bow and Sierra Madre mountains, in mafic-ultramafic bodies in metavolcanic rocks in central Wyoming, and in mafic dike swarms in various parts of the state.

Several WSGS reports have investigated PGEs, including:

Lake Owen mafic complex
Lake Owen layered mafic complex is a potential host for platinum group elements.


Patty Webber,