Miners Seeing Production Shift for the Fluorspar Billion Dollar Market

Palm Beach, FL – December 22, 2020 – During the current pandemic, most investors are focusing on gold or silver and other ores & metals, but fluorspar should also be on their radar… not because it trades like gold and silver, but because it is a necessary component in sectors that are projected to grow significantly over the next several years. Fluorite is used for several purposes. The primary users are the chemical, metallurgical, and ceramic industries, but it is also an essential component in the lapidary and optical industry. There are three different grades of processed fluorite: ceramic, metallurgical and acid. Acid grade fluorspar is the most purified form of fluorite and it is mostly used in the chemical industry to produce hydrofluoric acid that is used in the manufacture of fluorocarbon chemicals, refrigerants, and fluoride chemicals; Ceramic grade fluorspar is used in the manufacture of ceramics, specialty glass, and enamelware. This mineral is also used as a component in the production of surface treatments and glazes. Teflon, which is used in the manufacture of non-stick cooking ware is made from fluorine; and Metallurgical grade fluorspar It is mostly used in the production of metals such as steel and iron. The mineral is used to extract impurities such as phosphorus and sulfur from molten ore and increase the fluidity of the slag. An average of 40 pounds of fluorite is used to obtain a ton of metal, but metal manufacturers in the United States use purer fluorspar to achieve better quality steel. A report from Industry Research says that the global Fluorspar market size is projected to reach US$ 3160.7 million by 2026, from US$ 2616.4 million in 2020, at a CAGR of 3.2% during 2021-2026.  Active stocks in the mining markets this week include Ares Strategic Mining Inc. (OTCQB: ARSMF) (TSX-V: ARS), American Resources Corporation (NASDAQ: AREC), McEwen Mining Inc. (NYSE: MUX) (TSX: MUX), Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF), Platinum Group Metals Ltd. (NYSE: PLG) (TSX: PTM).


A report from Global Market Insights added saying that the: “Fluorspar Market Size was estimated over USD 2 billion in 2016 and will exhibit growth by a CAGR of over 4% up to 2024. Another research report from ReserachAndMarkets upped that projection saying: “The fluorspar market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 5% through 2025… the market for fluorspar in the Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow significantly during the study period.”   An article from Investing News added: “While the Asia Pacific region holds a strong position in the global market for fluorite, North America and Europe are also expected to create new growth opportunities for fluorite market players in the coming years. Global players are increasingly focused on expanding their hold over natural mines and resources of minerals in order to meet the increasing demand for commercial materials such as fluorite across the region.”


Ares Strategic Mining Inc. (OTCQB: ARSMF) (TSX-V: ARS) BREAKING NEWS:  Ares Strategic Mining Inc. Completes Plant Design and Begins Tendering Process – Ares Strategic Mining (“Ares” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the Company has completed its engineering design work on the upcoming processing facility to be installed at the mining operation in 2021.


The Company has completed the full Process Design Criteria, and has assembled a proposal for equipment manufacturers, which includes flow-sheets.  The full plant will take raw ore and produce an acidspar grade product, which is used in the manufacture of aluminum, refrigeration units, touch screens, fluorine, hydrofluoric acid, and electric car batteries. This high-end industrial product requires a fluorspar purity of 97%+, which the new plant will provide. Acidspar sells for a premium in the fluorspar market due to the vast number of industrial applications. The product composes over two-thirds of the United States’ fluorspar market, and is currently 100% imported from countries outside the United States.


In 2018 the U.S. government classified fluorspar as a Critical Mineral, “deemed critical to U.S. national security and the economy”. Fluorspar remains the only non-metallic Critical Mineral which is 100% imported in the entire country. This plant will provide the United States with the first domestic supply of acidspar in years.


James Walker, President and CEO of the Company said, “We hope to complete the tendering process and get started on the construction, delivery, and commissioning of the plant, immediately. This will be the largest acquisition ahead of the Company launching the US’ first completely domestic acidspar operation in decades. The Company is transitioning from its design and planning phase, into the construction and equipment acquisition phase of its mining operation. We are fortunate that all permitting is already in place, and only heavy machinery and a plant is required to commence mining. The plant is the longest lead item, so during its construction and installation, all construction can be completed, and all mining equipment can be purchased and installed. The Company is very pleased to be making good progress towards its mining goals, and anticipates a very successful 2021.”  Read this full release for the Ares Strategic Mining news at:  https://www.financialnewsmedia.com/news-ars/


Other recent developments in the mining industry include:


American Resources Corporation (NASDAQ: AREC), a next-generation and socially responsible supplier of raw materials to the new infrastructure marketplace, recently announced that it has commenced operations at its Perry County Resources (PCR) complex. The restart at PCR comes after a year of implementing a methodical restructuring and in response to increased demand for raw materials for steel and infrastructure projects.


Mark Jensen, Chairman and CEO of American Resources Corporation commented, “This is a monumental event for the Company and the Perry County Resources complex given the amount of effort, investment, and dedication we have put into this particular asset for the benefit of its future value, our shareholders and its surrounding community. We feel we are at a significant inflection point with Perry County Resources being the launchpad to propel the Company into our next and exciting phase of growth. With this commencement of operations, we now have the ability to generate stable cash flows for our investors, a reliable supply of high-quality carbon for our customers, and over 170 steady and reliable jobs for the community.”


McEwen Mining Inc. (NYSE: MUX) (TSX: MUX) recently announced that due to strong investor demand, it has increased its previously announced non-brokered private placement from 6,136,000 common shares (CDN$10,001,680) to 7,056,400 common shares (CDN $11,501,932) of the Corporation issued on a flow-through basis (the “FT Shares”) at a price per share of CDN $1.63, with an option to increase the Offering from 920,400 FT Shares (CDN$1,500,252) to 1,058,460 FT Shares (CDN$1,725,290) exercisable at any time up to two business days prior to the closing of the Offering by way of a non-brokered private placement. The Offering Price represents a premium of 22% over the closing price of McEwen Mining common shares on the TSX as of December 16, 2020.


The gross proceeds from the sale of FT Shares will be used for expenditures which qualify as Canadian Exploration Expenses (CEE) within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada). The Company will renounce such CEE expenditures with an effective date of no later than December 31, 2020.  The Common Shares issued will be subject to a four month hold period. The Offering is expected to close on or before December 30, 2020 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval from the TSX and NYSE.


Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF) recently announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of substantially all of the operations of ArcelorMittal USA LLC and its subsidiaries (“ArcelorMittal USA”), forming the largest flat-rolled steel producer in North America. On a full-year 2019 basis, the combined Company generated pro-forma revenues of approximately $17 billion and combined adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.7 billion, including previously disclosed expected synergies.


In connection with the acquisition of ArcelorMittal USA, which includes the interests of ArcelorMittal USA of 60% in I/N Tek L.P. and 50% in I/N Kote L.P., Cleveland-Cliffs also acquired Nippon Steel Corporation’s remaining interests of 50% in I/N Kote and 40% in I/N Tek, for a total consideration of approximately $183 million. With this additional transaction, Cleveland-Cliffs becomes the sole owner of 100% of I/N Tek and I/N Kote, which generated a combined $121 million of adjusted EBITDA in 2019.  Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer said, “The acquisition by Cleveland-Cliffs of ArcelorMittal USA, boosted by our buyout of Nippon Steel from the I/N Tek and I/N Kote joint ventures, opens a new chapter in the history of the steel business in the United States. The assets we have acquired will be combined with our existing footprint, including AK Steel, Precision Partners, AK Tube, several mining and pelletizing facilities, our Research & Development Center, and the most modern Direct Reduction plant in the world, which we have just started to operate in Toledo, OH. Our new footprint expands our technological capability and enhances our operational flexibility, elevating Cleveland-Cliffs to a prominent role as a major player in supporting American manufacturing, American future investments in infrastructure, and the prosperity of the American people through good paying middle-class jobs.”


Platinum Group Metals Ltd. (NYSE American: PLG) (TSX: PTM) recently reported the Company’s financial results for the year ended August 31, 2020 and provides an update and outlook. The Company is focused on advancing the palladium dominant Waterberg Project located on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa (the “Waterberg Project”). The Waterberg Project is planned as a fully mechanized, shallow, decline access palladium, platinum, gold and rhodium (“4E”) mine and is projected to be one of the largest and lowest cost underground platinum group metals (“PGM” or “PGMs”) mines globally.


The Company’s near-term objectives are to achieve the grant of a mining right for the palladium dominant Waterberg Project and complete construction funding and concentrate offtake arrangements. The Company is also advancing an initiative through Lion Battery Technologies Inc. (“Lion”) using platinum and palladium in lithium battery technology in collaboration with Anglo American Platinum Limited (“Anglo”) and Florida International University (“FIU”). Lion is focused on securing further patents for technologies developed through its ongoing research and development.


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