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Posts tagged ‘Prima Fluorspar Corp (PF)’

Prima Fluorspar president/CEO Robert Bick reflects on the pervasiveness of industrial minerals

April 29th, 2014

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Financing the ‘weird stuff’

April 3rd, 2014

Industrial minerals explorers gain profile as security of supply becomes increasingly crucial

by Greg Klein

Precious and base metals need little if any introduction. But, according to Secutor Capital Management Corp’s Arie Papernick, investors are often “at a loss for the unconventional weird stuff”—the subject of the Industrial Minerals International Congress and Exhibition held in Vancouver from April 1 to 3. Addressing the April 2 Finance Session, Papernick called the commodities “a play on the end product,” often of new technologies like electric cars and renewable energy. But the end users are usually private. “So where do you go for exposure?” he asked. “You have to go to the explorers.”

The two-hour session brought five of those explorers together with potential investors, and not only of the retail and institutional categories. As some of the companies have found, manufacturers are showing increasing interest in the people who can help attain reliable, secure sources of the stuff they need to make an amazingly diverse range of products that we take for granted.

Industrial minerals explorers gain profile as security of supply becomes increasingly crucial

Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE director Chris Grove explained that a somewhat traditional scenario has Asian interests backing a project around the pre-feasibility stage with a joint venture or loan guarantee. “What we’re seeing with this conflict minerals legislation is interest coming from manufacturers who have a listing on a U.S. exchange, and I’m talking about companies that are household names.”

The Dodd–Frank Act “holds 6,000 companies accountable as to where they procure their three Ts [tantalum, tungsten and tin], and whether they buy these from people who have committed the worst and longest-running record of human rights abuses on the planet in the last 20 years.”

That gives Commerce a strong jurisdictional advantage over countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo. In British Columbia the company has taken its Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit to a preliminary economic assessment. In Quebec Commerce advances its Ashram rare earth deposit towards pre-feasibility.

Attending a panel discussion were representatives from the five explorers, each with “its own unique strength or niche,” said moderator Derek Hamill, head of research for Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC. Each company offered a different perspective on financing.

Alan Young, an engineer and director of frac sand explorer Rainmaker Mining TSXV:RMG, portrayed tough environmental regulations as an investment advantage. The U.S. has “a lot of one- or two-man companies that aren’t regulated as clearly as we might be here in Alberta and British Columbia,” he said. Canada’s professionalism achieves “a quality well with very, very low risk to the environment.”

Explorers’ challenges can differ with each type of mineral. Big North Graphite TSXV:NRT president/CEO Spiro Kletas said his commodity requires “a race to the finish line. It’s not like gold, where there’s always a buyer waiting. If you don’t have a buyer, you’re stuck with mountains of graphite.”

Consequently the company aims to “pick up past producers with low capital needed to re-start and get product to market in near future.” Big North is already test-mining and selling amorphous graphite from a small JV in Mexico. The revenue means “we’re not quite at the mercy of markets that a pure exploration play would be.”

When asked to account for his commodity, Prima Fluorspar TSXV:PF president/CEO Robert Bick points to end products as diverse as aluminum, Gore-Tex, refrigerants and pharmaceuticals. “We wouldn’t have the quality of life that we have without fluorspar—it’s simply not possible.”

Another atypical story, Prima began as an early-stage explorer focused on the Liard project in northern B.C. Then the company attracted the attention of multi-billion-dollar fund manager Firebird. As owner of the Delgerkhan past-producing fluorspar mine in Mongolia, “Firebird came to us with several objectives,” Bick said. “They wanted to join a company with a fluorspar asset and a listing on a recognized exchange.”

We wouldn’t have the quality of life that we have without fluorspar—it’s simply not possible.—Robert Bick, president/CEO of Prima Fluorspar

The two signed a letter of intent which would result in a reverse takeover while Prima acquires Delgerkhan. But along with its exchange listing, Prima brings heavy-hitting technical expertise. That includes Michel Robert, “probably one of the best mining engineers in the world, who has a close relationship with us, a lot of experience with industrial minerals on the metallurgical side and the engineering side, and has rehabilitated 10 mines in his life,” said Bick. “We actually took [Firebird’s] plan, ripped it inside out and told them what they really had.”

What they found was the former Soviet-era mine and its records “are first rate,” he added. In a country with something like 129 fluorspar deposits, Delgerkhan is “probably the foremost fluorspar mine in Mongolia.”

With 15 uranium properties in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK might have a portfolio that exceeds its budget. But “most of the properties have an awful lot of historic data,” said corporate communications officer Roger Leschuk. Money spent by previous companies helps focus priorities. Lakeland also likes the JV model, having so far brought in Star Minerals Group CSE:SUV and Declan Resources TSXV:LAN as partners on different projects.

Declan’s $1.25-million first-year spending commitment has already accelerated work on their drill-ready Gibbon’s Creek project. Exercising a four-year option to earn 70% would entail Declan spending $13 million. Lakeland, meanwhile, keeps its eyes open for other potential partners for other projects.

The Industrial Minerals Finance Session drew “quite an interesting audience,” said Zimtu president Dave Hodge. “We have people from all over the world that are involved in what people consider unusual commodities—that’s about half the room. The other half of the room are people who are involved in financing exploration on a global basis.” But the end users, Hodge emphasized, “are much more dependent than they realize” on explorers for consistency and security of supply.

Disclaimer: Zimtu Capital Corp, Lakeland Resources Inc, Prima Fluorspar Corp and Commerce Resources Corp are clients of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of ResourceClips.com. The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in those companies.

Inescapable but obscure

March 27th, 2014

Industrial minerals, their uses and opportunities, are the topic of an April 2 Vancouver conference

by Greg Klein

Industrial minerals manage to be inescapable but obscure. Like base metals, and much more so than precious metals, they’re all around us. If they weren’t, our lives would be very different. Yet investors and even end users often show little awareness of the process of finding and extracting these commodities. Organizers of an April 2 conference in Vancouver hope to change that.

The free event is part of the Industrial Minerals International Congress and Exhibition, this year celebrating its 40th anniversary in Vancouver from April 1 to 3. As usual the event brings together industry leaders, often end users who are experts in their own niche markets. A new feature, the April 2 Finance Session, “will bring financiers as well as end users together with exploration companies,” says one of the organizers, Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC president Dave Hodge.

Consider the car, bike or transit vehicle you likely use to get around. Apart from the better known metal alloys, a number of other minerals are used to manufacture its various components. Consider the additional minerals used just to enable the manufacturing process—to build the plants, refineries, refractories, tools, machinery, computers. Consider the minerals used to find, obtain and transport those commodities.

Industrial minerals, their uses and opportunities, are the topic of an April 2 Vancouver conference

So many of the products we take for granted
rely on little-known commodities for their manufacture.

Or start all over again with a different type of product, from necessities like food, clothing and communications to luxuries like entertainment. They depend on an awful lot of industrial minerals.

“For the most part they’re considered critical commodities, in that supply is fairly tight,” explains Hodge. “In general they rarely have practical substitutes.”

According to Zimtu head of research Derek Hamill, “One of the fundamental differences between base metals or energy metals versus industrial minerals is the exchange. Usually copper will trade on a major exchange so you can follow the pricing. Oil is very similar but the price for commodities in the industrial sector is opaque. So in this session we’re trying to show people some of the commodities and their potential. I think they’ll be surprised, actually.”

Hodge adds, “As the global commodity scene tightens, it’s more important for companies that buy industrial minerals, as well as investors, to understand exploration.”

As a prospect generator, Zimtu’s actively involved in matching exploration companies with properties, often involving relatively obscure commodities, and helping build those companies. But ask Hodge if end users understand the exploration process and he laughs out loud. “Absolutely not!” he exclaims. “The two businesses are so different. In many respects industrial minerals users follow very traditional business formats where they try to make money on every transaction. Of course that’s very, very different from mineral exploration and it’s challenging for either of those two sides to understand completely how the other side operates.”

Chaired by Laura Syrett, prices editor for the authoritative journal Industrial Minerals, the Finance Session features a keynote speech by Arie Papernick of Secutor Capital Management Corp’s Investment Banking department. Hamill moderates a panel discussion featuring representatives of five companies pursuing different minerals. An informal networking opportunity follows.

“The panel will discuss topics including current developments and potential growth factors,” Hamill says. “We’ll also discuss challenges like how to calculate the net asset value of a project in an opaque pricing market and the risks people face. We’ll look at the progress of individual projects, potential end users, financing and other subjects.”

Hamill notes some growing awareness among end users already. “Especially with conflict minerals legislation in the U.S., there’s more concern about where supply comes from,” he says. “There’s security of supply issues too, when sources come from a country like China.”

Hodge sees the event offering synergies for explorers, investors and end users who can “learn how to secure a more steady supply of the very minerals they grow their business with.”

Among the companies present, Prima Fluorspar TSXV:PF has an early-stage project in northern British Columbia and an LOI to acquire the Delgerkhan mine in Mongolia, a past-producer with near-term potential.

Especially with conflict minerals legislation in the U.S., there’s more concern about where supply comes from. There’s security of supply issues too, when sources come from a country like China.—Derek Hamill, head of research for Zimtu Capital

Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE has advanced its Upper Fir tantalum-niobium deposit in southeastern B.C. to the preliminary economic assessment stage and is moving its Ashram rare earth deposit in Quebec’s Labrador Trough towards pre-feasibility.

Canadian Metals CSE:CME focuses on high-purity silica sand properties in B.C. and Quebec. Big North Graphite TSXV:NRT is test-mining and selling amorphous graphite from a joint venture in Mexico and holds flake graphite properties in Mexico and Canada.

Lakeland Resources TSXV:LK holds interests in 15 Saskatchewan uranium properties, one of them showing surface boulder samples grading up to 4.28% uranium oxide (U3O8) and some of the Athabasca Basin’s highest radon readings.

Among the conference sponsors is the Canadian Securities Exchange. James Black, VP of listings development, says that Hodge is “very passionate about this space, he thinks there’s a ton of potential in it and we’d like to be alongside those prospects letting them know what we’re doing.”

“We’re happy to look at all sectors but industrial minerals is an area that’s gaining more interest, so we like to be where the interest is. We like to support Vancouver and be front and centre when these things happen.”

The fact that Industrial Minerals chose Vancouver for its congress “is very significant,” says Hodge. “At this time in particular, with commodities in general being on the low end of the supply scale, there’s a need for exploration of all kinds of minerals, including industrial minerals. Vancouver is essentially the global centre of exploration.”

The Industrial Minerals Finance Session takes place April 2, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver. Refreshments and informal networking follows. For free attendance, RSVP to Matt Sroka at matt@zimtu.com.

Disclaimer: Zimtu Capital Corp, Lakeland Resources Inc, Prima Fluorspar Corp and Commerce Resources Corp are clients of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of ResourceClips.com. The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in those companies.

Neglected potential

October 24th, 2013

Investors increasingly realize how industrial minerals permeate our lives

by Greg Klein

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Lacking the aura of precious metals and the prominence of base metals, industrial minerals play little-known but essential roles throughout our society. So it was largely industry insiders who attended an October 22 to 23 Vancouver conference on the subject. One afternoon was devoted to the most elusive commodity of all—money. Without that stuff, the other commodities can’t be found. Accordingly, four speakers addressed different ways of funding explorers and producers, offering insights that might also benefit retail investors.

The event was the 24th annual Canadian Conference on Markets for Industrial Minerals, hosted by Blendon Information Services. Among the attendees was Michel Dumont, a senior commodity analyst with Natural Resources Canada. Speaking to ResourceClips.com, he said the meeting is the only Canadian event of its kind, providing some of the best coverage available on North American companies.

Industrial minerals often differ from their exchange-traded counterparts because miners have to match the distinct qualities of a deposit to a specific end user’s needs, he explained. In other words, producers have to find a customer who matches the deposit, or even the other way around.

Investors increasingly realize how industrial minerals permeate our lives

The automotive industry alone uses any number of minerals,
some of them relatively obscure, for manufacture and operation.

That doesn’t make it easier for miners and explorers to find investors. End users are also misunderstood, Dumont pointed out. “People are not aware that they live inside industrial minerals end products, be it paint, ceramics, pharmaceuticals. People will take Tums and they don’t know that it’s calcium carbonate. But the calcium carbonate can also be used to make the windshield wipers of your vehicle or the linoleum tiles on the floor. A lot of people aren’t aware of their surroundings and what goes into their lifestyle. The same goes for the companies that lend money.”

Investor awareness is coming, though. Dumont credits the Industrial Minerals Association North America and its European predecessor for testifying to their products’ ubiquity.

Presentations and conversations alike focused on topics like frac sand, dolomite, hectorite, gilsonite and some of salt’s 14,000 uses. If those topics appear dry, the talk wasn’t. “We gained a reputation here in Vancouver as being the go-to guys for weird commodities,” joked Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC president Dave Hodge. In a presentation about financing industrial commodities through public markets he asked, “How’d you like to have that title? I walk down the street and people say, ‘That’s the guy that does weird commodities.’”

Some of them aren’t so weird anymore, judging by their increasing prominence. Zimtu was well ahead of the pack with graphite. One of the company’s core holdings, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE, has taken its Blue River tantalum-niobium project in British Columbia and Ashram rare earths project in Quebec both to preliminary economic assessment. Another core holding, Prima Fluorspar TSXV:PF, has an early stage project in B.C. and a letter of intent to acquire a past-producer with near-term potential in Mongolia.

Although industrial minerals differ from commodities like copper, gold and silver, Hodge noted, it’s still the juniors’ job to discover and develop projects.

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October 23rd, 2013

Eric Sprott’s open letter to the World Gold Council Goldseek
How the government borrows money Equedia
Derek Macpherson: Three essentials to look for in junior mining equities the Gold Report
Graphite and fluorspar price and demand increases expected for 2014 Industrial Minerals
Looking at Prima Fluorspar the Grandich Report

October 22nd, 2013

How the government borrows money Equedia
Derek Macpherson: Three essentials to look for in junior mining equities the Gold Report
At the Margin: Silver mining industry and experts to present at the Silver Summit 2013 Goldseek
Graphite and fluorspar price and demand increases expected for 2014 Industrial Minerals
Looking at Prima Fluorspar the Grandich Report

October 21st, 2013

How the government borrows money Equedia
Derek Macpherson: Three essentials to look for in junior mining equities the Gold Report
At the Margin: Silver mining industry and experts to present at the Silver Summit 2013 Goldseek
Graphite and fluorspar price and demand increases expected for 2014 Industrial Minerals
Looking at Prima Fluorspar the Grandich Report

October 18th, 2013

At the Margin: Silver mining industry and experts to present at the Silver Summit 2013 Goldseek
Graphite and fluorspar price and demand increases expected for 2014 Industrial Minerals
Byron King on graphite and platinum group metals the Gold Report
The subprime crisis Obama is allowing but doesn’t want you to know about Equedia
Looking at Prima Fluorspar the Grandich Report

October 17th, 2013

At the Margin: Silver mining industry and experts to present at the Silver Summit 2013 Goldseek
Graphite and fluorspar price and demand increases expected for 2014 Industrial Minerals
Byron King on graphite and platinum group metals the Gold Report
The subprime crisis Obama is allowing but doesn’t want you to know about Equedia
Looking at Prima Fluorspar the Grandich Report

October 16th, 2013

At the Margin: Silver mining industry and experts to present at the Silver Summit 2013 Goldseek
Graphite and fluorspar price and demand increases expected for 2014 Industrial Minerals
Byron King on graphite and platinum group metals the Gold Report
The subprime crisis Obama is allowing but doesn’t want you to know about Equedia
Looking at Prima Fluorspar the Grandich Report