JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A resource of eight-million tons of fluorspar has been confirmed at the Naauwpoort/Kromdraai project, in Gauteng, black-controlled minerals exploration and development company Sephaku Holdings announced on Wednesday.
The explorer said in a statement that independent consultants SRK Consulting Engineers and Scientists had confirmed this resource, which Sephaku CEO Neil Crafford-Lazarus said was a “significant development” in the company’s fluorspar strategy.
“The global demand for fluorspar is set to continue as emerging markets search for material to aid in the development of their economies. South Africa is a significant player in the fluorspar arena, and initial tests for our project confirm the high quality of the fluorspar,” he commented.
The company said that there was a global demand for 4,5-million tons a year of acid-grade fluorspar, mainly from hydrofluoric acid producers.
Simultaneously, China had reduced its exports of fluorspar to 450 000 t/y, down from 920 000 t/y, leading to historically high spot market prices of more than $500/t in October.
“These project fundamentals, combined with the possibility of a lower cost, safer, openpit mining operation, should lead to a high extraction rate for the project,” said Crafford-Lazarus.
Further, he said the company was looking forward to the second phase of the project, which would entail extractive metallurgical test work by two laboratories and the completion of a scoping study on the plant process flow, which was being conducted by South Africa State-owned research institute Mintek.
Meanwhile, Sephaku said it would soon initiate a capital budgeting process for the Naauwpoort/Kromdraai and the adjacent Plattekop fluorspar projects, which it had been prospecting since 2006.
This would be completed by March.
The company noted that this would establish the required steps and costs for the establishment of a 130-kt/y concentrator.
Editor: Mariaan Webb