A Montreal-based mineral exploration company has returned to Grand Calumet Island in the Pontiac this week to drill for a rare, precious metal.

Sphinx Resources is on Grand Calumet Island, near Shawville, Que., taking new samples for palladium, a platinum-like precious metal used in the emissions systems of cars.

The demand has increased due to the increased need for catalytic converters inside vehicles, according to Norman Champigny, president of Sphinx Resources.

Palladium trades at about $950 per ounce, which makes this project potentially very valuable for Sphinx.

The work stretches 150 metres below ground as workers drill for core samples, which are later evaluated for palladium by people like veteran prospector Michel Gauthier.

Champigny cautions that discovering enough palladium to establish a mine in the Pontiac would be a very rare find — a one-in-a-thousand chance.