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Could this miner help you secure financial independence faster than Sirius Minerals plc?

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With its story capturing the imagination of so many private investors, it’s no real surprise that £1.2bn cap polyhalite producer Sirius Minerals (LSE: SXX) remains one of the most traded stocks on the London Stock Exchange.

Last week’s interim results made reference to “excellent progress” being made on the company’s Woodsmith Mine and associated infrastructure with development progressing on time and on budget.

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Having completed all highways and enablement works and most of the preparations at the site, CEO Chris Fraser stated that the company now eagerly anticipated the commencement of shaft sinking activities. He also reported that Sirius was continuing to engage with commercial partners around the globe and that interest in the company’s POLY4 product “remains strong“.

Of course, there’s still a very long way to go and many hurdles to overcome before the mine becomes operational, which probably explains why the share price is still struggling to stay above the 30p mark. Nevertheless, I remain bullish on Sirius and its ability to grow its investors’ wealth steadily over the next few years, particularly with the company now comfortably occupying a space in the relatively stable FTSE 250 index following its move from the junior market.

For those who simply can’t wait for next four years to elapse however, there may be an alternative.

Bluejay Mining

It may be a minnow compared to Sirius but Bluejay Mining (LSE: JAY) is quickly winning friends thanks to the potential of its relatively low-cost Pituffik Titanium project in Greenland — independently verified as being the highest grade ilmenite mineral sand deposit in the world.

According to today’s interim results, Bluejay’s work programme for the year is now “well advanced” with management aiming to begin constructing the mine plant in early 2018 and a full exploration licence expected during H1. Offtake discussions with potential customers are progressing and likely to conclude within the next 3-6 months. 

Thanks to the levels of visible ilmenite concentrations being so great, Bluejay’s proof-of-concept bulk sampling programme is also “exceeding expectations” to such an extent that stockpiling is now forecast to begin far earlier than planned assuming production rates can be maintained. This puts Bluejay in an excellent position to begin selling its product as soon as the relevant licence is received.

Like Sirius, Bluejay’s project has been warmly received by the local community as well as many government and environmental agencies. June’s oversubscribed placing — allowing Bluejay to boast a net cash balance of £5.8m at end of H1 — also means the company’s popularity among institutional investors (including Prudential plc) continues to grow.

The shares have climbed over 200% since last August, leaving the company with a market cap of £136m. Based on comments from CEO Rod McIllree however, the coming months could be “equally transformative“. In time, he believes that the Pituffik project could completely transform the titanium industry. All this before Bluejay’s wider asset portfolio in Greenland and Finland is even considered.

Bottom Line

While mining projects carry significant risk, both Bluejay and Sirius could be excellent medium-to-long term investments for those determined to become financially independent. That said, while the North Yorkshire Moors are a far more hospitable environment than that faced by Bluejay, it could be that the latter’s relatively simple production model could reward holders a lot sooner. 

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Paul Summers owns shares in Sirius Minerals. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes

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