Ares Strategic Mining (TSXV: ARS), the Canadian company that owns the only permitted and producing fluorspar mine in the United States, received this week technology commitments that enable it to manufacture a fluorspar product not previously anticipated at its Utah operation.
According to Ares, its manufacturing partner, the Mujim Group, has developed a new technology able to produce fluorspar lumps from material that was previously unsuitable for their manufacture.
Fluorspar lumps are used in the ceramic, fiberglass, and glass industries, as they reduce the refractory melting point, promote the flow of slag, and enable the separation of slag and metal. The product also assists with desulfurization and dephosphorization during the smelting process and acts to enhance the tensile strength of forged metals.
The lumps, however, are rare and even though the United States classified fluorspar as a critical material in 2018, the country still imports most of the fluorspar it consumes.
Given this context, Ares said that it may be possible for the company to become the first vertically integrated lumps manufacturer in America.
“This new technology potentially opens a whole new product line to us, which would run alongside our currently anticipated acidspar and metspar products,” James Walker, the firm’s president and CEO, said in a media statement.
“We anticipate concluding a joint venture agreement to use this technology, so we can complement our manufacturing industrial reach and operating flexibility.”
At present, the Mujim Group – which operates several fluorspar mines in Thailand and Laos – is supporting Ares in the expansion project of its 1,447-acre Lost Sheep mine, located in Juab County, Utah.
The Canadian miner said it is currently in the process of ramping up production through new equipment, designing a new plant tailored to the mine’s ore, engaging new staff and strategic partners, and building a global customer base.
“We have ambitions to create a large mining operation, capable of producing industry-grade metspar and acidspar for the world markets,” Walker said.