FN Media Group Presents USA News Group News Commentary
Vancouver, BC – January 19, 2022 – USA News Group – With more than $10 trillion under its management, Blackrock Inc. (NYSE:BLK) is drastically shifting the market landscape, through its demands for increased ESG credentials for every business it touches. In order to meet these demands, a race has begun to secure a healthy supply of critical minerals and metals that are the essential building blocks for the clean energy for the future. As the USA is seemingly letting Russia and China snap up critical minerals in Africa, there have been a series of developments to secure this critical supplies, including from Ares Strategic Mining Inc. (CSE:ARS) (OTCQX:ARSMF), Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ:PLL), General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), and NioCorp Developments Ltd. (OTCQX:NIOBF) (TSX:NB).
Listed by the USGS as Top 10 critical mineral is the often overlooked mineral fluorspar, the supply of which has been of rising concern since China has placed export restrictions on the mineral for over a decade.
Already analysts are signalling for significant growth in the global fluorspar market, as it’s essential in the production of a wide variety of fluorine-containing products including refrigerants, coatings, foam-blowing agents, and pharmaceutical intermediates.
Today, the USA currently only has only a single permitted domestically producing mine.
That mine is the Lost Sheep Fluorspar Project, located in Delta, Utah, owned and operated by Ares Strategic Mining Inc. (CSE:ARS) (OTCQX:ARSMF).
Not only has Ares Strategic Mining been developing the Lost Sheep Fluorspar Project, but expanding their fluorspar portfolio into an already large historically delineated fluorspar project in Kentucky, US, after having recently announced an agreement to develop the Campbell Croster Fluorspar Project.
The Project comes with a historic (not yet 43-101 compliant) resource of over 600,000 tons of high-quality fluorspar mineralisation—contained within one single contiguous fluorspar vein.
Ares Strategic Mining selected the Campbell-Croster Kentucky fluorspar project after examining multiple fluorspar prospects in order to expand its long-term operation and production potential within the USA. It found what it was looking for, having already possessed both historic drilling and a historic mineral resource estimate, giving the company what management believed to be its best opportunity within the US since it began its research.
“We already own the only permitted fluorspar mine in the USA, which we are currently developing for greater production, and once operational we will begin exploration and development work on our new Kentucky project,” said James Walker, President and CEO of Ares Strategic Mining. “Fluorspar is a very in demand industrial mineral the world is struggling to adequately acquire, and we are making sure we can supply that need.”
Back in mid-December 2021, Ares Strategic Mining announced a milestone in that it had shipped its lumps plant ahead of schedule. The large 3-storey facility will be the only one of its kind in North America.
“All the components of our operation, construction, and production are lining up,” said Walker. “We have long-term plans for project and Company expansion over the coming years and anticipate becoming an important part of the US industrial landscape.”
Another critical mineral that’s integral to the development of batteries for electronics and electric vehicles (EVs). Now another potential lithium mine is on its way to the United States in the state of North Carolina, being developed by Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ:PLL).
Recently the company just issued an Economic Impact Study for its Carolina Lithium Project. As per the study, in 2027 the direct output impact is estimated to be $533,607,785.
The proposed project will be undertaken by Piedmont Carolina Lithium as a single integrated facility that will include three operations: quarrying, spodumene concentration and by-product processing, and the production of an estimated 30,000 tons of lithium hydroxide from spodumene concentrate on an annual basis.
On the buyer side of the lithium table, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has announced a strategic partnership with California-based Controlled Thermal Resources in an effort to secure “local and low-cost lithium” for its Ultium battery packs.
GM has said its newly formed partnership with CTR is “expected to accelerate the adoption of lithium extraction methods that cause less impact to the environment.” The majority of the battery-grade lithium hydroxide and carbonate for GM will be sourced from the Salton Sea Geothermal Field in Imperial, California at CTR’s own Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power development in.
NioCorp Developments Ltd. (OTC:NIOBF) (TSX:NB) has recently delivered positive results in metallurgical testing of possible rare earth production at its superalloy materials Elk Creek, Nebraska Project—which is set to produce niobium, scandium, and titanium.
Third party L3 Process Development had already focused on NioCorp’s potential rare earths recovery, and in this most recent development, L3 in particular demonstrated that scandium can be effectively extracted and separated from the rare earth elements in solution using a phosphate-based extractant.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress that L3 has made to date and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with them with the goal of adding additional value from the potential rare earths to the Elk Creek Project’s economics,” said Scott Honan, NioCorp’s Chief Operating Officer.
More developments into these forms of critical minerals is expected, as Blackrock Inc. (NYSE:BLK) has made Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investment what Bloomberg calls the “Hottest Ticket on Wall Street”. Their moves towards creating ESG-focused funds has begun to shift investors towards sustainable portfolios.
“This is the beginning of a long but rapidly accelerating transition—one that will unfold over many years and reshape asset prices of every type,” said Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock in a letter to CEOs last year. “We know that climate risk is investment risk. But we also believe the climate transition presents a historic investment opportunity.”
Among its massive portfolio, BlackRock has its own BlackRock World Mining Trust plc, which aims to provide a diversified investment in mining and metal assets worldwide, actively managed with the objective of maximising total returns. It’s comprised of a portfolio of mining stocks exposed to long-term themes such as decarbonisation, digitalisation or the development of renewable energy sources, and is balanced with investment in more traditional areas such as gold and precious metals.
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