In October, it said discussions were advanced over acquisitions in both the fluorspar and industrial minerals sector to add to its three existing fluorspar assets: Storuman in Sweden; Lassedalen in Norway and the large MB deposit in Nevada, USA.
Richard Clemmey, managing director, added: “Metallurgical testwork at the MB project in Nevada is progressing and is aimed at producing a commercial grade mica product alongside commercial grade acidspar.”
Looking at its operations, the group said the re-assessment process of its Exploitation (Mine) Permit by the Swedish Mining Inspectorate is progressing, while in Norway the seasonal environmental testwork required as part of the due diligence for the purchase of land and old fluorspar mine workings from Hydro has been completed by Niva and data review is now underway.
Fluorspar has multiple applications
Tertiary has more than 13mln tonnes of contained fluorspar defined across its assets.
Fluorspar is the mineral form of calcium fluoride - CaF2 - and has many applications.
When mined, it is separated into two main grades - acidspar is at least 97% calcium fluoride, while metspar (metallurgical spar) is a much lower purity - at between 60% and 85%.
The latter is used for iron smelting, and to manufacture glass, steel, enamels and aluminium products, while acidspar is generally converted to hydrofluoric acid, by combining it with sulphuric acid.
This can then be made into other things like fluorocarbons, which are used in Teflon (the stuff your frying pan is coated with), fridges, freezers and air conditioning units.
It is perhaps worth noting that new environmentally friendly refrigerants, required by regulation, contain more fluorine than the older ozone depleting ones.
Global demand for fluorspar is between 6 and 6.5 mln tonnes a year, according to Tertiary, with acidspar, the most in demand of the two - at around 3.8 mln tonnes a year.
China produces more than half of all fluorspar production but exports have continued to decline, as the People's Republic has developed and needs to use its own source.
It's classed as a 'critical' raw material by the European Commission, and outside China, Western Europe, Canada and the USA (which imports 100% of what it needs) are the largest acid-spar consumers, importing more than 900,000 tonnes a year.
Tertiary is well-placed to capitalise on this opportunity
At MB, which covers 2,800 acres, and 146 claims, near the US Highway 50, there are 6.1mln tonnes at 10.8% fluorspar in the higher confidence indicated category and 80.3 million tonnes of inferred, grading 10.7%, at a 9% cut-off.
Storuman has a total JORC resource of nearly 28 mln tonnes at 10.21%.
Norway still ongoing
Lassedalen, although on the sidelines, and effectively on care and maintenance for some times as the firm focuses on the US and Sweden, has a 4mln tonne resources (grading 25% fluorspar) and a scoping study previously has shown enough for nearly seven years of mining.
Tertiary disposed of two legacy gold assets in Finland, Kaaresselkä and Kiekerömaa, earlier in 2017 for for US$100,000 in cash and shares.
The 83,072 shares the company received as part consideration for its sale of a stake in this increased in value from £85,000 to more than £140,000, based on current mid-market price and exchange rates, it said in October.
At 0.48p, Tertiary has a market value of just £1.5mln.