Utah to Unveil North America's First Domestic Fluorspar Processing Plant
- 12-Jul-2023 1:57 PM
- Journalist: Gabreilla Figueroa
US: Ares Strategic Mining, the only company with a permitted Fluorspar mine in the US, has announced plans to build a $19 million first-of-its-kind processing facility in Delta, Utah. The 22,000-square-foot project is expected to create 40 new jobs in Millard County. In April, the British Columbia-based company completed its purchase of a 48-acre, industrially zoned manufacturing site in Delta that will be used to process Fluorspar from the company's Lost Sheep mine and surrounding claims at Spor Mountain in Juab County. Plant, upon becoming operational, will generate the sole domestic source of Fluorspar in the United States.
Ares Strategic Mining is a well-supported company dedicated to, producing, and supplying metallurgical and acidspar grades of Fluorspar. Their focus is on providing high-quality Fluorspar for use in the steel and Aluminium industries. With their permitted Fluorspar mine in the US and plans for a first-of-its-kind processing facility, Ares is committed to bringing Fluorspar manufacturing back to North America. The naturally occurring high-grade Fluorspar at their Lost Sheep mine in Utah puts Ares in a strong position to meet the growing demand for this critical mineral.
US government has classified Fluorspar as a critical mineral, recognizing its crucial role in the US economy and national security. This classification enables faster permitting periods for mining operations, allowing them to begin more quickly than for conventional minerals, according to the company. Ares, which is focused on mining Fluorspar in Utah, has received significant government backing due to the mineral's strategic importance to the country's economic security. James Walker, the company’s president, and CEO expressed his appreciation for the support and acknowledged their efforts towards securing the domestic industrial mineral supply to protect the US industry. Ares is now well-supported and aims to bring this industry back to the United States while advancing towards production.
Ryan Starks, executive director of the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity, expressed his pleasure in welcoming the expansion of Ares Strategic Mining in rural Utah. He further stated that supporting manufacturing within the US is a source of pride for their office, and they appreciate the efforts made by Ares in this pursuit. The expertise and partnerships that Ares brings will diversify their economy and strengthen their state, he said.
According to Scott Cuthbertson, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, Fluorspar is an essential mineral for the US Department of Defense and other key industries. Unfortunately, most of the world's supply is currently produced outside of the US. The extension of Ares Strategic Mining to Millard County is a major win for the manufacturing supply chain in the US and rural Utah, indicating a significant achievement for the company.
The company announced that the processing facility property was already equipped with utilities and had its water wells. This reduces dependence on local water networks. The facility will accommodate Ares' lumps and flotation plants and will also house a large tailings facility for the upcoming production. Furthermore, the property is connected to the Lost Sheep project via large, paved highways, thereby requiring no infrastructure upgrades outside of the facility for the company to receive material.
According to Walker, the company's belief is that it has identified the best and most balanced industrial facility and land available. They considered several factors such as size, location, facilities, accessibility, suitability, and cost before choosing this facility.
The new acquisition, there is no need for a second site for the second processing facility. As a result, staff can be more efficiently managed between operations. The location also offers Ares several advantages, including accessible water, good access for trucks, and proximity to its newly installed rail spur that will facilitate the shipment of its products throughout the United States. Additionally, Ares will have access to a skilled workforce in the area.
Lost Sheep Fluorspar project of the company spans across 5,982 acres and comprises of 353 claims. Earlier this spring, the company announced the successful closure of a $4.42 million loan, which was backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under its Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program. Additionally, the state of Utah had re-awarded the company a $10 million bond to help it purchase a larger and more advanced manufacturing facility.