New owners, new life for St. Lawrence fluorspar mine

The St. Lawrence fluorspar mine was idled in 2022, a…

The St. Lawrence fluorspar mine was idled in 2022, a victim of a very sporadic economy on Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula. The previous owner, Canada Fluorspar left behind a debt of $95 million and sought creditor protection.

With that sorted out, the mine became the property of Singapore-based AMED Funds in June 2023 for a payment of $25 million. The new owner set up an operating company, Fluorspar Holdings, and said it will restart production from the mine in 2025.  Now as the time grows closer, the owner has pledged $100 million over three years to make it happen.

Willem Jacobs, managing director of mining and energy for Toronto-based advisory firm Clariti was interviewed recently by CBC News. He is in charge of reopening the project and revealed ambitious plans. Evidently, a re-examination of the deposit resulted in robust resource numbers and economic confidence. That coupled with optimism about the long-term fluorspar market, had Jacobs saying that mine life will be between 20 and 30 years.

Fluorspar Holdings will begin by hiring a contractor to mine the reworked open pits at the site. The contract will specify much larger excavators and trucks than were used previously in order to give the project the necessary volume of production. The shift to underground mining is also being considered. The company is hiring a company to design a new port facility at nearby Blue Beach, an undertaking that needs a $10 million to $13 million investment.

The St. Lawrence mine will be the only fluorspar producer in North America. The mineral is also mined in China, Mexico, Mongolia, Vietnam, and South Africa (where AMED owns a producer). The mineral has a wide variety of uses in ceramics, chemical industries, and increasingly in the push toward electric vehicle batteries and other green technologies.

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