Potash Ridge completes prefeasibility study for Utah project

08 November 2013 23:10  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Potash Ridge has completed its prefeasibility study for its flagship Blawn Mountain project in Utah, which will be focused on production of sulphate of potash (SOP), the fertilizer producer confirmed on Friday.  

Canada-based Potash Ridge said the Blawn Mountain sites consists of approximately 15,400 acres (6,200 ha) of state-owned land in Beaver County, Utah, and will be developed to produce significant volumes of SOP, which is premium priced fertilizer used with special crops and soil types.

The company is projecting annual SOP production of 645,000 tonnes when at full capacity, with the extractable deposits estimated at 26.4m tonnes over the 40-year lifecycle of the mine. It is also anticipated an average of 1.4m tons (1.3m tonnes) of sulphuric acid will be produced at the site per year.

SOP produced will be marketed domestically and globally. The sulphuric acid will be marketed to existing US phosphate producers as well as to copper and gold miners in the region.

At this time, construction is projected to begin in late 2015, with production starting in 2017 and reaching full capacity by 2019. Initial capital cost for the project has be calculated at $1.1bn (€814m), with the company possibly spending approximately $641m in additional funding for infrastructure and utility upgrades.

Potash Ridge officials said the completion of the first phase of studies was a significant milestone for the project and demonstrated the economic viability of the Blawn Mountain site.

“The prefeasibility study highlights that we have a 40-year project, entirely based on mineral reserves, with a technically sound and economically proven flow-sheet. The project offers a unique opportunity for significant production of SOP in Utah, one of the most favourable mining jurisdictions in the world,” said Guy Bentinck, Potash Ridge CEO.

Recent studies have demonstrated 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.

Potash Ridge intends to focus its SOP marketing efforts in the US on growers of premium value crops. California will be a key market given its large agricultural base of premium crops. Florida will be another key target. Currently approximately 100,000 tons per annum of SOP is imported into Florida from Europe and Chile, which can also be displaced given the transportation advantage,” said Potash Ridge in a statement.

The company said the next phase is to undertake the final feasibility study and apply for necessary mining, air quality and ground water permits. It expects to undertake those efforts by the end of the year or early 2014.

($1 = €0.74)


By: Mark Milam



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