02/25/2015 05:00 EST | Updated 04/26/2015 05:59 EDT

Palladium mining rights in the Pontiac bought by Montreal company

A Montreal company has bought the right to mine palladium in the Pontiac after reanalyzing samples taken from Grand Calumet Island in the 1950s.

Sphinx Resources Ltd. said in a news release it’s paid more than $1.3 million for the right to look for the rare metal about 110 kilometres west of Gatineau.

Nickel and copper were found in the area in 1951, but the company said samples taken from in and around a test pit didn’t show enough to be worth further mining.

However, when some of those samples were tested again in 2014 they revealed palladium, which Sphinx CEO Normal Champigny said is worth $800 an ounce, is rarely found outside Russia and South Africa, and is used to lower greenhouse gas emissions coming from vehicles.

“It was a nice surprise,” he said. “It can create jobs, and good jobs.”

Locals hopeful but mining not imminent

Champigny recently visited the area to talk to landowners about what a potential mine could mean for them.

Bryson Motel owner Jerry Ryan said he's interested in what the company’s geologists are doing.

"They've been renting rooms, they’ve been eating, they’ve been buying gas, they’ve been spending money” he said.

“They're not doing that for show, they're doing that obviously because there's interest, right?"

Champigny said an active mine and its economic spinoffs are at least a decade away.

Sphinx will be back to take more samples in March.

On mobile? Click here to see a map of where the samples were taken.