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“There are a number of other advanced fluorinated polymers out there, including fluorinated membranes used in fuel cells, batteries and a number of other areas. We expect growth in fluoropolymer demand to be well above GDP.”
With metspar demand now up 35% compared to 2008, Hykawy expects to see annual increases up to 4.6%. But he predicts acidspar demand will grow much faster. “Admittedly this is back of the envelope, but we see almost a 6% CAGR [cumulative annual growth rate]. That doesn’t sound sexy, but 6% CAGR outstrips the growth in mining output by a very long way, which means without new entrants you’ve got shortages on your hands.”
He adds, “The only way fluorochemical producers are going to protect their output is to secure their own supplies. And that means offtake or joint venture.”
On hand to discuss the latter topic was Canada Fluorspar TSXV:CFI President/CEO Lindsay Gorrill. His company holds a 50/50 JV with the French industrial chemicals giant Arkema Inc on the St. Lawrence Fluorspar Project in southern Newfoundland. Newspar, as the joint venture is called, includes two past-producing underground mines that have an updated pre-feasibility study slated for Q4 2012 or Q1 2013. If all goes well, acidspar production is targeted for 2014.
Canada Fluorspar President/CEO Lindsay Gorrill emphasizes that insiders hold 48.6% of the company’s shares which are “locked up until commercial production. The whole team is focused on going into commercial production.”
The company has an additional 39 wholly owned veins. Drilling will continue outside the JV in early 2013 with a resource estimate planned later that year. The site is one kilometre from a deep-water port and 100 kilometres from a main shipping line.
We see a very, very healthy growth in demand for acidspar, more than the Chinese can supply or other existing projects can supply through expansion.—Jon Hykawy, Head of Global Research, Clean Technologies and Materials Analyst for Byron Capital Markets
Also on hand was Robert Bick, President/CEO of Prima Fluorspar Corp. The company’s wholly-owned 22,257-hectare Liard Fluorspar Project in northern British Columbia has an historic, non-43-101 resource of 3.2 million tonnes grading 32%. “That’s without a whole lot of drilling,” Bick emphasizes. Prima believes the near-surface deposit has a strike length of 30 kilometres. Historic metallurgical tests show acidspar results of 97% CaF2.
The property sits along the Alaska Highway, 300 kilometres from rail, with connections to Edmonton, Vancouver and the northern B.C. deep-water port of Kitimat.
Prima is a holding of Zimtu Capital Corp TSXV:ZC and plans a reverse takeover with Camisha Resources Corp TSXV:CRN. Shareholder and regulatory approval pending, the combined company expects to begin trading on the TSX Venture exchange as Prima Fluorspar Corp in early 2013, Bick says. “It’s early days and the company is young, so it’s exactly the right time for people who are interested—from the investment community or the fluorspar industry—to take an ownership position.”
The Fluorspar Pre-Conference Workshop was presented by Zimtu as part of the Industrial Minerals Fluorspar 2012 Conference held in Vancouver from October 22 to 24. Commenting on the workshop’s capacity crowd of over 200 people, Byron Capital’s Hykawy said, “I thought there must have been a sign outside saying ‘Free Beer’—because I couldn’t believe this many people would show up for a fluorspar workshop.”
Disclaimer: Prima Fluorspar Corp and Zimtu Capital Corp are clients of OnPage Media and the principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in those companies.
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