30 October 2013 16:45 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--EPM Mining Ventures released its preliminary feasibility study of the Sevier Lake Playa Sulfate of Potash Project in southwest Utah on Wednesday, which demonstrates the potential for substantial production of the specialty crop nutrient.
Salt Lake City-based EPM controls directly, or through agreement retains, mineral leases on more than 124,000 acres on the Sevier Lake Playa property in Millard County, Utah. The producer is focused on development and production through solar evaporation of sulfate of potash (SOP), which is a premium-priced fertilizer used with special crops and soil types.
The company is projecting SOP production of 300,000 tonnes/year when at full capacity with the deposit reserves estimated at 31.486m tonnes of SOP over the 30-year lifecycle of the mine.
While not revealing a startup date, EPM said it expects that production will be 50,000 tonnes in year one, doubling to 100,000 tonnes the second year and not reach total production levels until the third year of operations. The total direct capital cost of the project is estimated to be $292m (€213m).
EPM officials said the first phase of the study was encouraging and currently the company is undertaking engineering and chemical analysis in order to complete the final feasibility study.
“We are very pleased with the completion and positive results of this important study. Through the efforts of a second drilling and fieldwork program, bench-scale testing of important evaporation and other process-related parameters, and significant hydrology modeling and analysis, the preliminary feasibility study highlights and supports the strong fundamentals and potential of our project,” said Lance D'Ambrosio, EPM CEO.
EPM said that research and market observations has shown there is strong demand for SOP in emerging agricultural markets like India and South America but also in the US especially for growers who cultivate chloride sensitive, high value crops such as fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts.
The company said it estimates global demand for SOP at an estimated 6m tonnes and the market is expected to grow 4%/year through 2020. EPM said the fertilizer continues to be priced at a significant premium to muriate of potash (MOP).
($1 = €0.73)
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