Canada Fluorspar (CVE:CFI) has unveiled the first results from its phase 3 diamond drilling program at its Grebes Nest property that lies close to former fluorspar mines in the area of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, saying there is potential to expand the structure for more than 4,000 metres along strike.
The Grebes Nest vein is part of the company's St. Lawrence fluorspar project in Newfoundland, and lies about 4 km from the former Tarefare mine and less than 6 km from the former Blue Beach North mine, according to its statement.
The company has 41 known mineralized veins on its fluorspar assets in St. Lawrence, two of which - Blue Beach and Tarefare - have been drilled and vended into a partnership with French chemical giant Arkema, while drill rigs started working at its own Director Vein in January. After the rigs finished turning at Director, Canada Fluorspar moved on to Grebes Nest, with 5,000 metres of drilling planned on this vein by the end of the year.
With the Blue Beach and Tarefare veins now being reviewed under the partnership, the Canadian company is looking to unlock the potential value of the Director Vein, as well as the Grebes Nest Vein, this year through drilling.
The first three holes at Grebes Nest, announced Thursday, are all located on the western part of the grid area, with one hole intersecting 48.68% fluorspar over 16.85 metres.
Fluorspar is used to reduce the amount of energy needed to produce aluminum, and is also used for photovoltaic solar panels, but the biggest application is fluoro chemicals - which are used in products ranging from air conditioners and refrigerants to lithium batteries and the material Gore-Tex. Consumption of the mineral is expected to reach 7 million tonnes by 2015, but there is currently no domestic supply in Canada or the U.S. as these two countries rely on Mexico, the second biggest producer after China - which is expected to become a net importer soon.
"This is very exciting news", said president and CEO, Lindsay Gorrill, in the statement on Thursday. "Based on the 21 holes we have drilled to-date on the Grebes Nest property we have identified fluorspar mineralization along a strike length of approximately 1.5 kilometers and extending to more than 170 metres at depth."
The company has received results for just three of these 21 holes, but said that based on observations on the drill core, it is optimistic about the assays, and is looking forward to releasing results from the remaining holes.
Canada Fluorspar said that one of the three drill holes intersected the Grebes Nest vein at around 100 metres vertically below the surface, and tested the mineralization below the old mine shaft and the pre-existing open-cut on surface that was mined by a previous operator in the 1990s.
According to its release, prospecting on the structure in the late 1940s traced it to the southeast for a reported distance of 3.2 km, after which a shaft and some short drill holes followed. "Due to the remote location of the showing and the adequate reserves at the operating mines owned by the Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan) no additional work was undertaken," the company's statement read.
Historic mining operations by Alcan on the St. Lawrence property produced more than 4.2 million tonnes of fluorspar during a 44 year continuous production from 1942 to 1977. Production resumed in 1986 and continued until 1991, when St. Lawrence Fluorspar reopened the nearby Blue Beach North Mine and processed 440,000 tonnes of ore from small open pits, one of which was located in a surface pillar at the Director Mine near the main shaft. The first holes drilled at the Director vein as part of the company's 2013 exploration program returned values of 80.12% fluorspar over 3.95 metres, and 51.94% fluorspar over 13.39 metres.
Shares of Canada Fluorspar rose by more than 5.8 per cent on Thursday after the first results from the Grebes Nest campaign were announced, putting shares at 18 cents on the TSX Venture Exchange as of around 12:30pm ET.
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