July 11, 2022 – Investors are in a difficult situation. Cash is losing value through inflation, traditional safe havens such as precious metals are losing value, and over $11 trillion USD was wiped off stocks, the worst losing streak for global stocks since the 2008 financial crisis. Cryptocurrency values have plummeted, even refuge in housing is unsafe given climbing interest rates and prices beginning to fall. To do nothing is to lose, to act may mean losing more. With supply chains slowing, an energy crisis looming, and food prices rising, there is no end to the difficulty of assessing what the future holds or how to best position yourself to weather the coming global recession and uncertain economic future.
During such times it remains sensible to remain focused on fundamentals: what can people not do without? These would include things like housing, food, transport etc. With housing and food currently being a volatile space, it is necessary to be even more fundamental. Commodities may be the place to seek sanctuary, but how best to identify the commodities which cannot fundamentally be discarded from use or increased utilization?
Fortunately, three years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey declared a list of 35 minerals as critical. Since then, though, our nation has only become more dependent on other countries for these minerals, leaving us vulnerable.
In 2018, the U.S. declared 35 minerals including fluorspar (also known as fluorite) as strategic and critical. The announcement made a number of resource and mining companies aware of an opportunity. Leaders in this group include prominent companies including Tertiary Minerals plc (LSE: TYM), Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE: FCX), and Tronox Holdings PLC (NYSE: TROX).
Junior miner Ares Strategic Mining Ltd. is a natural resource company focused on bringing active domestic US Fluorspar into immediate production. Ares Strategic Mining’s (CNSX: ARS) (OTC: ARSMF) recently acquired the Lost Sheep Fluorspar Project – a set of 5,982 acres over 353 Claims in the Spor Mountain area, Juab County, Utah, some 214 kilometers south-west of Salt Lake City. The site is fully permitted - including mining permits - and a NI 43-101 Technical Report identified extensive high-grade fluorspar without impurities.
At present, Ares Mining’s Lost Sheep Mine is the only fully permitted fluorspar source in the United States. Ares’ Lost Sheep mine also stands out since it holds the highest naturally occurring fluorspar-grade in the US mining space.
The 35 Critical Minerals Still in High Demand
Products from cell phones to nuclear reactors to LCD screens rely on minerals available only by mining into the earth. Without these products, the United States economy and national security suffer.
That’s why Executive Order 13817 was issued in 2017. The order lists elements that are “essential to the economic and national security of the United States, that has a supply chain vulnerable to disruption, and that serves an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economy or national security.”
Compiled and written by Steven Fortier, Nedal Nassar, Graham Lederer, Jamie Brainard, Joseph Gambogi and Erin McCullough, the report also discusses strategies to reduce the nation’s reliance on these elements, the status of recycling technologies, alternatives to these minerals, options for accessing critical minerals through trade with allies and partners, a plan for improvements to mapping the United States and its mineral resources, and other issues.
This list of critical minerals is not permanent but is instead updated periodically.
Minerals on the list include helium, cobalt, lithium, tin, potash and fluorspar. Fluorspar, for example, is used in a myriad of modern products from the manufacture of aluminum, to lithium battery technology, gasoline, and the likes of uranium fuel, but currently has no domestic US source.
A Solution is Underway for One Critical Mineral
A single company is striving to address the U.S. fluorspar shortage. Junior miner Ares Strategic Mining Ltd. finalized the purchase of the Lost Sheep Mine project in 2018. The site, along with additional claims, sets Ares up as a potential American mining monopoly.
Best of all, the new mine appears uniquely positioned to deliver Acidspar, a higher-quality form of fluorspar that commands a higher price. Acidspar already makes up two thirds of the U.S. fluorspar market because of its wide applicability. The robust market for Acidspar, combined with the higher prices will deliver a higher potential for profit margin for Ares Strategic Mining.
Ares is focused on speeding up its timeline to get the mine producing Acidspar as soon as possible. Management says that could be within this year for lower purity metspar, followed by the higher purity Acidspar soon to follow.
Minerals and Elements More Important to Our Everyday Life
The list of Critical Minerals contains mostly elements not minerals, although they are naturally found in rocks and purified by some form of smelting. A few on the list, like fluorspar and potash, are actually minerals.
The word mineral in this case is a term for anything not animal or vegetable and includes many things that are not actually minerals. Geologically speaking, a mineral is any naturally occurring crystalline substance that has a fixed physical structure and a chemical composition that varies within strict limits.
Regardless of how they are classified, the elements on the USGS 35 are critical to our lives and the strategic security of the United States. Any contribution by domestic suppliers is certainly a good thing and companies that can provide domestic sources of these minerals including fluorspar, stand to earn a unique position as front runners in the space including:
Tertiary Minerals plc engages in the identification, acquisition, exploration, and development of mineral deposits. The company engages in the development of a multi-commodity project portfolio, including precious metals, base metals, and industrial minerals. Tertiary recently explained that it has returned to a projectgenerator model, buoyed by successes in the building of its portfolio of Nevada assets.
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. engages in the mining of mineral properties in North America, South America, and Indonesia. The company primarily explores for copper, gold, molybdenum, silver, and other metals, as well as oil and gas. The company’s CEO recently declared that by 2021, approximately 75% of PT Freeport Indonesia, a unit of Freeport-McMoRan Inc operations, will be underground mining, with it reaching 100% by 2022.
Tronox Holdings PLC operates as a vertically integrated manufacturer of TiO2 pigment in South and Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. The company operates titanium-bearing mineral sand mines, and beneficiation and smelting operations. The company recently disclosed that due to the impacts of COVID-19, TiO 2 sales volumes declined 19 percent, consistent with previously issued Q2 outlook, and selling prices were level sequentially, however Zircon sales volumes increased 2 percent sequentially as a result of shipment timing, and selling prices increased 2 percent driven by favorable product mix.
To learn more about the impact of strategic minerals and the market for Fluorspar, read about the rising companies in this commodity space: https://www.aresmining.com/investors Or for further information, please contact James Walker by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Companies typically rely on comprehensive feasibility reports on mineral reserve estimates to reduce the risks and uncertainties associated with a production decision. Historically, situations where the issuer decides to put a mineral project into production without first establishing mineral reserves supported by a technical report and completing a feasibility study have a higher risk of economic or technical failure, though some industrial mineral ventures are relatively simple operations with low levels of investment and risk, where the operating entity has determined that a formal prefeasibility or feasibility study in conformance with NI 43-101 and 43-101 CP is not required for a production decision. Based on historical engineering work, geological reports, historical production data and current engineering work completed or in the process by Ares, the Company intends to move forward with the development of its Utah asset.
Certain information in this article may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as “will”, “may”, “should”, “anticipate”, “expects” and similar expressions. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this article are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s expectations include the failure to satisfy the conditions of the relevant securities exchange(s) and other risks detailed from time to time in the filings made by the Company with securities regulations. The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of any forward-looking information may prove to be incorrect. Events or circumstances may cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted, as a result of numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking information. Such information, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. The forward-looking statements contained in this article are made as of the date of this article and the Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise such information, except as required by applicable law.