Tertiary Minerals PLC’s (LON:TYM) managing director, Richard Clemmey, has hailed a recovery in the fluorspar market in 2018 in the company’s full year results despite permitting challenges at its Storuman Mine in Sweden.
The fluorspar-focused firm said it had resolved two key issues in an ongoing permitting process for the Storuman project, while it had completed the first phase of scoping study level bench scale metallurgical testwork for its MB Fluorspar project in Nevada, with the second phase of testwork planned for 2019.
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Regarding the fluorspar market itself, the firm said prices had continued to rise during the year amid increased demand and China imposing strict environmental regulations on domestic fluorspar miners. The Chinese benchmark acid-spar recently hit a seven-year high of around US$565 a tonne.
Tertiary added that raw materials firm Possehl Erzkontor GmbH & Co, with which it signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year, would continue to support the company with the development of its projects and the evaluation of potential acquisitions.
The group also said Aurion Resources, which operates gold projects in Finland and in which it holds a royalty interest, had re-logged and sampled drill cores provided by Tertiary with a view to further drilling in 2019.
Clemmey said: "It is pleasing to see the recovery in the fluorspar market continue in 2018 but It has been a year of frustratingly slow progress for our Storuman Mine Permit re-assessment process. We have made good progress in establishing that our operations will not affect the nearby Natura 2000 area and that reindeer husbandry is able to co-exist alongside the open pit mine, but we still face objections from the County Administration Board (CAB) regarding the location of the Tailings Storage Facility.
"We, together with our Swedish consultants and legal team, strongly disagree with the CAB's position and so remain hopeful for a positive resolution of this matter."
He added: "Looking forward to 2019, with the continued support from Possehl we look ahead to progressing the Scoping Study on our large MB project as well as continuing our evaluation of potential complimentary acquisition targets."
In its results for the year, Tertiary reported a loss before income tax of around £2.2mln compared to a £395,532 loss last year, mainly due to impairment of a deferred exploration asset of £1.97mln.
The group ended the year with cash and cash equivalents of £218,297.
Shares were down 5% at 0.47p.