24 August 2011

Publication: Mining Weekly
Author: Brindaveni Naidoo

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) –Sephaku Fluoride aims to produce 180 000 t/y of acid-grade fluorspar by the end of 2013 from its new Nokeng fluorspar mine, parent company Sephaku Holdings said on Wednesday.

Sephaku Fluoride also announced the appointment of mining industry veteran Alan Smith as CEO from August 17.

The announcement was made after the company was awarded a new order mining right for the Nokeng fluorspar mine, located some 70 km north-east of Pretoria.

The granting of the right was an essential step in the company’s development process, CEO Neil Crafford-Lazarus said. "These are very positive and important steps for the group as we seek to define and deliver more focused investment opportunities to the market,” he added.

The project comprises two major fluorspar deposits, the Outwash Fan deposit and the Plattekop deposit, which the company said are believed to rank among the highest-grade fluorspar deposits in the world.

The Outwash Fan deposit has a measured mineral resource estimate of 8.2-million tons at a calcium fluoride grade of 24.6%, while Plattekop has an indicated mineral resource estimate of 2.9-million tons at a calcium fluoride grade of 42.6%.

Sephaku Fluoride also plans to establish a beneficiation production facility comprising a sulphuric acid plant, a hydrogen fluoride plant and an aluminium fluoride plant.

The acid-grade fluorspar produced by the Nokeng concentrator will be used largely as feed to the production facility, a key feature of which will include the production of 60 000 t/y of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride.

This, together with the production of 93 000 t/y of sulphuric acid, 66 000 t/y of oleum at a concentrate of 20% and feed of 129 000 t/y of acid-grade fluorspar, will be used to produce 60 000 t/y of aluminium fluoride.

NEW CEO

Smith started his career with the coal division of Anglo American in 1975, and subsequently held several technical and executive positions at Anglo American, De Beers and AngloGold. He also led the New Diamond Corporation from 2001 to 2003, the Lesotho Diamond Corporation (2004 – 2006) and KIVU Resources (2006 – 2009).

In 2010, he took up the position of CEO at Incubex Minerals, where he has been responsible for overseeing the unbundling of Incubex from Sephaku Holdings` portfolio and its establishment as a separate company and independent investment vehicle.

“Smith is a leader of excellent ability, with exactly the right combination of attributes to drive the next phase of progress at Nokeng," Crafford-Lazarus said.