However, that doesn’t meant that no one is paying attention. Tungsten remains one of the world’s most critical metals, which undoubtedly helps keep interest in tungsten projects alive around the world. Here are two companies that have recently acquired an interest in tungsten.
A second tungsten investment
New Zealand’s family-owned Todd Corporation added another tungsten company to its portfolio last week. In December of 2012, Todd Corporation scooped up a 19.9% stake in Australian tungsten hopeful, Wolf Minerals (ASX:WLF) whose UK Hemerdon project is trucking along towards production. This time around, Todd has turned its focus to Canadian tungsten junior, Northcliff Resources (TSX:NCF). On October 3, Northcliff announced that in exchange for a direct interest in its Sisson tungsten-molybdenum project and shares in Northcliff, Todd would provide $39 million in funding.
Per the agreement, Todd will complete a private placement of $5 million for 13,888,889 common shares at a price of $0.36 per share. Following this transaction, Todd will become the largest shareholder of Northcliff with a roughly 15 percent interest in the company. Todd will maintain its stake in Northcliff until 24 months following the closing of the investment transaction.
As far as the Sisson project is concerned, Todd can acquire an initial 11.5 percent interest in the Limited Partnership through an investment of $14 million in three stages. Todd will also be able to acquire a further 10 percent interest in the project by investing $20 million in the Limited Partnership upon a final investment decision to start construction.
This year has been a busy year for Northcliff, an affiliate company of Hunter Dickinson Inc. In January, Northcliff released the results of its feasibility study which identified the project as having the potential to be a 27-year project processing roughly 30,000 tonnes of ore per day. Northcliff also submitted its Environmental Impact Assessment to the federal and provincial governments at the end of July. With these milestones in place, the $579 million project is well underway to production.
A new tungsten acquisition
If there is one company out there that knows a thing or two about critical and strategic metals, it would have to be Tasman Metals (TSXV:TSM). The company is a well-known name when it comes to rare earths, with several properties in Norway, Finland and its main project — the Norra Kärr — located in south-central Sweden. Keeping in line with a focus on European projects, Tasman recently acquired 100 percent interest in a portfolio of tungsten projects in the Bergslagen mining district, also in south-central Sweden.
Tasman’s new acquisition is comprised of several of the largest tungsten occurrences in the Scandinavian region, including the former-producing Yxsjöberg mine, which once produced over 90 percent of Sweden’s tungsten. Overall, the company has acquired 6 projects, with 7 exploration claims that cover an area of 3,680.4 hectares. Tasman purchased the properties outright for a total consideration of 100,000 fully paid common shares in Tasman as well as $45,000. Furthremore, each of the properties is complete with historical data, including drill, production and metallurgical information.
With the European electronics market at its feet, Tasman has positioned itself to meet the growing demand for strategic materials in Europe. CEO Mark Saxon told investors in a company statement that while Tasman remains focused on its “globally significant Norra Kärr heavy REE project, tungsten is an essential industrial metal that faces the same resource security challenges to REEs, with a Chinese supply monopoly and strongly growing demand. Tasman shall continue to seek additional aligned opportunities during this challenging market for junior resource companies.”
Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no investment interest in any of the companies mentioned.