SEPFLUOR will begin construction of its Nokeng fluorspar mine near Pretoria within the next three to six months but has had to defer plans for a fluorochemical plant at Ekandustria because of difficulties in raising funding.Bank loans for new mines have not dried up completely but have become harder to get in the current commodities crisis.Sepfluor, whose major shareholder is the African Minerals Exploration & Development Fund, started funding negotiations more than two years ago.SA has the world’s largest known deposits of fluorspar, used in steelmaking, batteries and refrigerants, but is only the fourth-largest producer. Most is exported for value addition in other countries.Sepfluor CEO Rob Wagner says the company has secured the equity portion of about US$120m needed to build a small open pit mine and is finalising the project finance. It has met the banks’ legal and technical due diligence requirements, and is addressing final issues around an offtake agreement.Nokeng will empl...

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