Canada Fluorspar Inc. (CFI) is examining the feasibility of a new shipping terminal to the west of its St Lawrence fluorspar project. The company currently uses shipping facilities at Kiewit Town Wharf in Marystown and approval has already been granted for a development at Blue Beach, to the East of the mill site. Plans have now been unveiled to instead build a terminal at a location on the Western side of the mining property. It is reported that this will make it more economical for the company to sell aggregates, which are currently stored on a waste-rock site. CFI suggests that aggregate sales would allow the company to conduct deeper open-pit mining, potentially extending the life of their fluorspar reserves from 8 to 18 years.
A deep-water terminal is expected to allow CFI to serve overseas demand for large shipments of fluorspar. As an example, the company has noted that one potential customer in China enquired about a Q3 2019 delivery of 20kt of material but it was suggested that such shipments are not feasible with currently available port facilities.
CFI made its first shipments of acid-grade fluorspar (acidspar) to the USA in August 2018 (as previously reported by Roskill). The additional 200ktpy acidspar capacity of the newly re-developed mine was a welcome addition to the global market, which has been experiencing a supply deficit and increased prices. China is the world’s largest fluorspar producer, but exports from the country have been generally decreasing as a result of mine closures following environmental inspections and a re-focussing on the production of higher-value, downstream products as the country continues its transition towards a more consumer-based economy. China became a net importer of metallurgical-grade fluorspar (metspar) for the first time in 2018 and, whilst it remains a net acidspar exporter, this trade surplus is narrowing and last year was around 70% smaller than in 2010. The enquiries received by CFI serve to further illustrate the shifting trends in global fluorspar supply/demand.