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Reports out of China, stemming back to 2010, reveal the country’s concern that Chinese reserves might run out over the next three to five years. The EU has already designated fluorspar a critical mineral. The Chinese reports, however, referred only to the country’s reserves without considering future exploration or possible increases in reserves.
Unlike rare earths, which are restricted to a handful of locations around the world, fluorspar is abundant globally. It’s simple enough to find, although the real challenge lays in finding a deposit of economical size. But, like the meteoric rise in graphite exploration over the last two years, it’s possible that investor awareness will encourage fluorspar’s pursuit.
The privately owned company Minersa is the world’s oldest fluorspar producer and Europe’s biggest, with five mines and a concentration plant in northern Spain. New players will likely appear. But two Canadian companies that already offer investors fluorspar exposure are Canada Fluorspar Inc TSXV:CFI and Prima Fluorspar Corp.
Canada Fluorspar Inc
In partnership with France’s leading industrial chemicals giant Arkema Inc, Canada Fluorspar proposes to reactivate a fluorspar mine in St. Lawrence, Newfoundland. The result of the pairing is an entity called Newspar, which currently has $65 million in the bank, in addition to a $17-million provincial government loan to build a wharf.
The problem with fluorspar is that nobody understands what it is, yet it’s a part of everyone’s life.—Canada Fluorspar President/CEO Lindsay Gorrill
“Even though there are approximately 43 known veins on the property, we have drilled and delineated two veins, Blue Beach North and Tarefare,” says Canada Fluorspar’s Gorrill. “These two are part of the mining plan and project in Newspar, which has plans for a mine site, mill, tailings pond and wharf.”
The property’s other 41 veins, each 100% owned by Canada Fluorspar, provide opportunities for future growth. Blue Beach North shows an average grade of approximately 38%, while Tarefare averages 44%. Economically feasible cutoffs tend to be around 30%.
Mining costs have risen, however, since the company released its prefeasibility study in 2011. The project is now being reassessed to examine operating and capital costs.
“We believe that we need to be good corporate citizens and step back before we start construction and analyze exactly what this is going to cost us,” says Gorrill. “We don’t know yet what those new costs will be, but this will help us to avoid sharing the same fate of other mining companies where they become so over-budget during construction that they start to have capital problems.”
Exploration continues, with a focus on the Director and Grebes Nest veins, to determine future potential.
Prima Fluorspar Corp
Still in its infancy, Prima Fluorspar’s story begins with the acquisition of the Liard Fluorspar Property in northern British Columbia. Comprised of 7,500 hectares and 29 mineral claims, the Liard Property comes with historic data—60 drill holes revealing 20 showings, seven of which were major, and a non-NI 43-101 resource of 3.2 million tonnes, which the company believes has significant potential for expansion. Unlike Canada Fluorspar’s deposit, Liard is a potential open pit.
With an IPO tentatively scheduled for November, Prima has been keeping busy. The summer 2012 work program included refurbishing and re-sampling historic trenches, and confirming previous, non-43-101 metallurgy results that produced high-quality acid-grade product of greater than 97% CaF2.
Reprinted by permission of Resource World
Disclaimer: Prima Fluorspar Corp is a client of OnPage Media and the principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in that company.
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