26 November 2013 23:00 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--The Andean Phosphate Alliance has secured title to an additional 6,200ha (15,300 acres) of the Bahia Inglesa phosphate deposit in northern Chile and has completed a preliminary environment impact assessment for the project, the fertilizer development partnership confirmed on Tuesday.
The group also said it has secured the necessary permits to drill up to 39 exploration holes.
The Bahia Inglesa was the subject of government-funded exploration during the 1980s and has since been in intermittent small-scale production, but resource studies have shown substantial deposits of phosphate. Recent estimates have led the Alliance to target an exploration program of an estimated 100m tonnes of the crop nutrient.
The Andean Phosphate Alliance was formed in January 2010 between Lara Exploration and the Kiwanda Group. The partnership centered on a joint agreement by which Lara would be funded up to $1.5m (€1.1m) for locating and developing projects involving phosphate resources in the Andean region of South America that Kiwanda could fully acquire and operate.
Canada-based Lara is a development and exploration company with diverse portfolio and deposit holdings in Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Peru. US-based Kiwanda is an investment and resource company with its focus on phosphate rock and coal projects in South America.
“This is all structured to work where we use our expertise and their money to present projects to them. They agree to fund us every year. Once it is completed Kiwanda may nominate a project and go forward or they will return it to us,” said Chris MacIntyre, Lara Corporate Development vice president
Under the terms of the group’s agreement, Kiwanda will invest $5m over four years for exploration and development and will raise its interest in the project from 50% to 60%. Kiwanda has the option to raise that stake to 75% by delivering a feasibility study within two years and agreeing to invest an additional $2m/year.
In addition to the land acquired, the Alliance is in negotiations for a larger share of the Bahia Inglesa basin. The group is trying to secure an adjacent 6,090ha tract of licenses from two local phosphate producers. According to Lara, the site is already producing phosphates that are being sold to the local agricultural market.
The group reported that it has also applied for an additional 9,100ha of licenses in the Bahia Inglesa basin.
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