SepFluor, operator of the newly constructed Nokeng mine in South Africa, has confirmed that it has made its first shipment of fluorspar which meets the industry standard assay for acid-grade fluorspar (acidspar) of 97% CaF2. The 10kt shipment was dispatched in early December 2019 and was thought to be destined for the USA.
The Nokeng mine, originally scheduled for operation in early 2019, was officially opened in August 2019 and is understood to have since made small shipments of sub-97% material. It joins VergenoegMining Company (Minersa Group), already a major exporter, as South Africa’s second active fluorspar mine.
Once fully operational, SepFluor will have an acidspar capacity of 180ktpy. This will be a significant addition to world acidspar supply, contributing, along with Canada Fluorspar’s 185ktpy mine and GFL’s 40ktpy operation in Morocco, to a total of over 400ktpy of recent acidspar capacity additions outside of China.
New supply will be welcome in a market that has seen elevated prices since 2017 and which is expected to enjoy strong long-term growth in key end-use sectors. However, these new additions follow several recent closures, including mines in Kenya, Namibia and Bulgaria, meaning that net capacity additions outside China over the last five years actually amount to less than 200ktpy.
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