A new player is emerging in the North American salt market and could shake things up for an industry that has already seen some historic consolidation over recent years.
Atlas Salt, which earlier this month changed its name from Red Moon Resources Inc., plans to soon break ground on a new rock salt mine located on the west coast of Newfoundland. Company officials anticipate its Great Atlantic Salt Project will provide high-quality rock salt for US and Canadian East Coast markets and reduce the snow and ice management industry’s need for costly foreign rock salt.
In addition to its strategic location to deep-water ports and eastern North American markets, this massive rock salt deposit varies between 200 and 250 meters in thickness and is easily accessible between 200 meters and 400 meters below the surface. In contrast, Compass Minerals Goderich Salt Project, the worlds largest underground salt mine, is located 600 meters under Lake Huron.
Company officials speculate the Great Atlantic Salt Project could mine a minimum of 2 million tonnes (metric tons) of rock salt per year and the mine could remain viable for 100 years.
The Great Atlantic Salt Project is generating interest in the investment community, as well.
According to a September 8 summary analysis for the online investment publication Streetwise Reports, author and analyst Ron Struthers states: “What is most important to understand is there is no risk with grade, metallurgy, strip ratios, processing and mining methods like mining other metals or materials. A processing plant is not required, you simply scoop material out of the deposit with a salt processor and ship to port. It is more like a salt factory than a mine. These salt projects generate huge cash flow and profits, but very seldom does one ever come to market in a public company.”
Once up and running, the Great Atlantic Salt Project could become a highly sought acquisition target. Struthers speculates Stone Canyon Industries – which acquired The Kissner Group in 2020 – could be a potential suitor. “Mark Demetree of Stone Canyon appears to be reshaping the North American Salt industry and is probably not done. Whether Stone Canyon or not, it would not surprise me if Atlas is bought out within the next 2 years at multiples of the current share price.”
Since a timetable was not give as to when Atlas would break ground on its Great Atlantic Salt Project, it's not expected to impact the North American snow and ice management market during Winter 2021-22.
Mike Zawacki is editor of Snow Magazine.